Liberation of Gemini - The Battle of Junction [WCGS MUSH]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction Chat' started by Iceblade, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. Iceblade

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    The events in this system are where the MUSH reaching it's peak in roleplaying and action.
     
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  2. Iceblade

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    Simulators
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1552 Hours 2658.134

    This room is oddly devoid of decoration, as it's main function is to house the simpods used for practice flights and training of fighter pilots assigned to the various wings of the ship. A control pod is situated near the back of the room with a screen so instructors can watch what's going on inside the pods, and eight simulation pods are located in a circlular pattern in the middle of the room.

    Phillip looks in Cole's direction, stands from his pod, and walks over to Cole hand extended. "Hey Cole, how ya doing?"

    "Hell of a lot more sober than last night, so I suppose that counts for something" Cole replies, before he gives a little grin. "I'd offer an apology, but I'm sure it'll happen again the next time."

    "Apology for what," Phillip responds with a grin retracting his hand. He then turns in head over to the simpods. "I guess you've come to get a little practice in?"

    Cole blinks at that hand being retracted, before he chuckles and gives a little shake of his head. "That, for starters" he jokes, before he gestures to the pods. "And something like that. I'd actually been trying to model a few little tweaks I was looking at making to the thruster manifolds to try and get a little better turning radius. Ended up, it doesn't look like it'll do a damn thing"

    Phillip says, "really," showing a clear interest. Phillip then adds, "Well you want to go a round? I could use the practice in the Rapier."

    Cole gives a little bit of a nod at Phillip's words. "Always looking for some way that I can get an edge," Cole replies with a little nod. "That's the real reason for my paint job, or lack of." he admits. "Stopped seeing the point in it when I was always tinkering anyway." He pauses there, before grinning. "And if you want to go a round, sure. Your funeral."

    Phillip says, "Sounds good," throwing a solid grin and pat on Cole's back as he begins moving toward his simpod.

    Cole makes a move towards his own sim pod, slipping inside and tugging the top down. Might as well get right into things, and see how they turn out…

    Phillip enters his simpod and gets ready, waiting for the sim mission number to popup. Phillip sees the Sim mission pop-up and enters it. Then watches as the countdown to start commences.

    Cole grins inside his simpod as the countdown commences, idly keying the little comms unit within the sims. « Time to see how quickly the new equipment breaks… » he jokes.

    Phillip begins to move his fighter cautiously towards the 'sword evading incoming gun turret fire and preparing to lock onto the bomber with an IR, being careful with his aiming

    The good thing about friend or foe missiles? They really don't care that much how wildly the fighter firing them is being flown… and so, Cole seems quite happy to keep his broadsword weaving to try and play keep-away from the more nimble fighter, letting his missile take care of tracking on its own. If he grins a little as it smashes into the Rapier's nose… well… can he really be blamed?

    Phillip jerks the stick as the FoF blasts around his nose. With the ping and a careful angle, Iceblade lets loose his IR as he pulls free.

    Phillip readies another IR missile and focuses his shot on the broadsword's cockpit. Locking, locking. Ping. Iceblade hears that sound as he lines up on the broadsword, and he fires.

    It might be a gun-heavy slug, but the Captain certainly seems to do a decent job of throwing his broadsword around the sky… waiting until the IR missile is nearly on top of him, before snapping over as hard as the broadsword's bulk will allow, and kicking out a decoy to distract the warhead. « I'll give it this » Cole comments as a second warhead impacts the Rapier. « Tough at least »

    Phillip snaps his fingers as his second IR misses. He then pulls away, jerking but still taking damage to his rear. Afterburning and pulling free, Iceblade comes back in and focuses on the Broadsword's engines. He switches to full guns and opens fire on Cole.

    Cole just might be giving a good idea of why Kanani called him crazy last night… turning head-on into the second missile attack, before sideslipping it neatly with his thrusters… cutting loose with his forward guns as the fighter completes its pass. Unfortunately, the Rapier's maneuverability means Cole can't get a clean shot in… managing only to clip the tail, instead of delivering the crippling blow to the engines he'd been hoping for. « Come on, Lieutenant. You'll never hear the end of it if you can't hit a broadsword. » He jokes.

    Phillip's shots hit home towards the 'swords front as Cole comes in on him. Iceblade then pulls away suffering only a glancing blow on his controls whose armor blocks the hit. Iceblade then pulls around and focuses clean on the Broadsword's controls to finish them and take Cole out of the fight. Iceblade comes in and fires with full burners going.

    « I suppose I should be careful what I ask for… » Cole jokes as he turns his broadsword around, grumbling at the lack of responsiveness after the Rapier's guns tear a few choice chunks out of his craft.

    As Phillip's Rapier fires away, the Broadsword's armor blocks the hit. Phillip clearly miffed by the failure, does not dodge the incoming blow from the 'sword's mass drivers as they blast his engines causing his craft to spiral out and explode. Iceblade just seconds before the explosion, instinctively pulls his ejection cord. The Sim recognizes his survival.

    And over the comms comes the sound of a certain someone humming the first few bars of Waltzing Matilda. « Nice try, Lieutenant » Cole comments simply. « Shutting it down, and we can talk outside » Cole explains, before the simulation fades away. A moment later, the Captain's pod pops open and he steps back out into the room.

    Phillip pops out of the pod as well, walking over to Cole with his hand extended. "Not bad, not bad," Phillip says with no distress in his voice. Phillip then adds, "looks like those thruster adjustments worked pretty well."

    "That was the stock version, actually" Cole replies. "I'd cleared out the sim programming for the mods once it became clear they weren't going to do anything," he explains, reaching out to shake the offered hand. "And don't worry about it too much, most Kilrathi don't expect to see a broadsword thrown around that way either"

    Phillip pulling his hand back. "Well what do you think of my performance, Captain?" Phillip asks hopefully.

    "Fair." Cole replies simply. "If you're going to get aggressive with a bomber, make sure you're doing it with your heaviest hits. Get in on him, get your missile off up-close, and get back out. You do not want to knife fight with me. I can shrug off quite a few hits, I don't have to be looking at you to get an FF hit, and if I can't out maneuver you my gunners still have a shot" he explains. "But, my Neutron turrets are also horribly short ranged, and I'm probably not going to be able to get my front in around on you unless you're making a pass. So make your pass, get the shot up close, then get the hell out to where I can't threaten you"

    Phillip considers the advice, notes it down mentally, files it in his brain under anti-bomber tactics in subsection 'sword specific tactics, and looks back at Cole with a smile. "Thanks for the advice, I'll be sure to keep that in mind when facing the grikath's next time."

    Phillip adds, "Oh and it was real fun flying against you, but I think I prefer flying with you more." Iceblade grins.

    "Griks are a bit different. You can get in with one of those, just stick to passes at his sides. He doesn't have side turrets like I've got, just one on the tail," Cole explains. "And no worries. I'd much rather everyone does their dying in here than out there."

    Phillip responds, "Well at least I survived that one. Unfortunately in real life that ejection would have been so close, I probably would have ended up with broken legs."

    "And there's nothing to say ejection's always going to save you. There's at least one Kilrathi pilot out here that seems to think shooting ejection pods makes for good sport" Cole explains. "And then, you still have to hope for pickup from a /friendly/ SAR," Cole adds, pausing for a moment. "There are fates worse than death"

    Phillip shakes his head in acknowledgement, showing no clear indication of fear over the news about the ejection-pod shooting Kilrathi. "Well, I need to get back into the sim and see if can't get a better handle on this Rapier." Iceblade starts heading back to his pod, but turns and asks, "Have you heard any further word about the Kilrathi battlegroup?"
    "None yet," Cole replies with a little shake of his head. "I'm sure the next I hear of it will probably be when they're asking me to lob warheads into it," he explains, smile growing to a little grin. "Which hopefully will be soon."

    Phillip nods his head for a second. Then Ice asks, hopeful, "Say, do you want to fly a sim attack on a Ralari?" Iceblade adds, "I was about to start the battle up when you came in."

    Cole can't help but give a little chuckle at Phillip's request. "Some other time," Cole replies. "I think if I spend any more time staring at the screen in the sims today, I'm gonna go cross-eyed"

    Phillip nods. "Well, see you around." Phillip then goes back into the Simpod for another hour before heading up to the bunks to rest for awhile.
     
  3. Iceblade

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    The Rescue of the TCS Honour

    The Powderkeg
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1926 Hours 2658.134

    Designed to house sixteen officers in some minimum of space and privacy, this is the barracks for the 1087th Fighter Squadron. Bunk alcoves and locker banks alternate along the walls, with privacy screens for the bunks retracting in front of the lockers when not in use. The bunk alcoves themselves are perhaps two and a half meters long and a meter deep, certainly not an arrangement for the claustrophobic. In the center of the room, a pair of sofas and a pair of chairs have been secured to the floor around a small table. A small hallway off to the rear of the room leads to a small bathroom and communal shower, while a door to port opens into a small private stateroom for the squadron commander.

    Phillip opens his eyes after having been dosing for the past hour. He sits up from his bunk a little groggy and rubbing his eyes. He takes a quick look around and then checks his watch.

    Trey is on the couch when Phillip opens his eyes. The guy's lounged in his favorite spot. It's arguably 'his', at this point, the guy having occupied precisely that spot, at the edge of the couch, every moment he gets. He's been known to sleep on it when the old lady's not looking. Head tilted over the arm of the couch, he's likely to appear more comfortable and relaxed than is strictly allowed… possibly by the law, for that matter. In his hand is a wooden paddle with a rubber bouncyball connected to it by a rubberband, and staples. Lots of staples. If one were to take the number of used staples on the paddle as an indicator of how many times the ball had bounced off, it would be… a -really- high number.

    Phillip observes Trey and takes note of the wooden paddle. Iceblade gives a mild chuckle. Phillip then turns and puts his feet on the floor and stretches his arms giving a somewhat audible yawn. He then bends down to start putting on his boots.

    Trey played with the paddle. That's what one does with these things, you know. His head's upsidedown, which would make this more challenging if he didn't seem to do just as poorly with it when he's rightside up. His hair stands on end, a product of his upsidedown head and the ship's artificial gravity. Eyes catch sight of the groggy pilot. "Morning!" Trey is not the kind of man who sounds like a proper officer. EVER. "You know, I'm really sorry, but I never got your name the other day. Just flew a sortie with you, nearly got my life ended by eight foot tall space cats… again, might I add."

    Phillip looks over and nods at the pilot. "Evening yourself." Iceblade then adds as he finishes tying his boots on, "I'm 2nd Lt. Phillip Bradford…Iceblade."

    Interrupting what had been a quiet evening in the black of space, a voice booms out over the loudspeaker. "All pilots, man your craft. All pilots, man your craft. Magnum launch. This is not a drill." There's a brief moment of silence from the disembodied voice, and then general quarters sounds as well. So much for that quiet evening.

    "Iceblade. Hisssss…." Trey puts the paddle down… well, actually it flies out of his hands, but what else is new, to point his fingers at Phillip as if they were smoking. "Bradford. Cool. I'm…" He quirks his head up, "Son of a bitch. I didn't even get dinner yet." He's out of the couch and heading out of the bunks in a hurry.

    Phillip looks up at the speaker and says, "Dangit, I just woke up from a power nap." Iceblade then quickly stands up, grabbing what gear he needs from his locker, and races for the door hurriedly putting stuff on.

    __

    Port Launch Tubes
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1947 Hours 2658.134

    Part catapult and part airlock, the launch tubes of the Bengal-class allow for rapid deployment of its fighter wing. Eight tubes are set along the port side of the ship, virtually identical in construction. Each is kept closed to space by a heavy door at the far end of the tube, with the inside end sporting a similar portal. The blue-green track of a tractor beam emitter is visible along the floor of the tube, used to fling a spacecraft within out into space. Set along the walls to both sides are narrow catwalks for maintenance or emergency usage.

    The 8 tubes each hold a fighter either a Scimitar class medium fighter or a Stiletto class light fighter. All ships are ready for an immediate launch

    Iceblade quickly comms for clearance, «Control, Scimitar One Zero Eight Seven Fox Sierra Three, requesting immediate launch clearance.»

    Sloppy comms over the radio, «Son of a…. didn't we do this already? I want my money back. This is totally a rerun.»

    Tizona comms, «Control, Scimitar One Zero Eight Seven Fox Sierra Five, requesting immediate launch clearance.»

    Sloppy comms, «Second that. Control, this is Scimitar one zero eight seven fox sierra six. Requesting immediate launch clearance.»

    ___

    Local Space
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1947 Hours 2658.134

    The infinite void opens up outside the carrier, a wide field of stars visible in the pitch black of space, with the larger sphere of the agricultural planet Helen close enough to stand out on its own. The bulk of the carrier lingers nearby, flanked by the equally large forms of the cruisers Corunna and Rorke's Drift. A handful of smaller escorts loiter nearby, holding station between the larger ships, dwarfed by the bulk of the heaviest ships the Confederation has to offer… and yet still massive compared to a fighter craft in their own right.

    Phillip launches first of the group from the Majestic after receiving clearance, eager to kill some furballs. He comms over the radio, «This is Iceblade. I have launched and awaiting orders.» Upon the launch of Sloppy and Tizona, Iceblade adds, «Welcome to the party, guys.»

    Sloppy responds, «Then why aren't I having a good time?»

    Iceblade quips in response, «Maybe cause your idea of a good time is a paddle-ball.»

    Gambit's voice is then heard over the radio, «Control, Gambit here in Stiletto Two-two-one-FS-Five. Launching.»

    Iceblade comms, «You ready for this, Paz?»

    Tizona chuckles «Iceblade, Tizona, please be so kind as to not broadcast my name over an open channel. Really don't feel like having a price on my head.»

    As the fighters that aren't out on patrol duty begin to clear through the launch tubes of the Majestic, the carrier itself can be seen springing to combat-ready life, lights dimming along the non-combatant decks of the vessel and at the same time, the turrets sweep warily across arcs in the sky. As the majority of the fighters move clear, VDUs onboard the fighters click to life with a hazy green image of the Majestic's bridge. «Majestic Control to all craft. Approximately eleven minutes ago, we detected multiple jumps into Junction from the Nexus system. Four minutes ago, we received a distress call from the TCS Honour. The Honour has fled Nexus heavily damaged, and has multiple Kilrathi craft following. Damage to her is extensive, and is preventing a launch of her own fighter craft. Thirteen, Ten-Eighty Seven, and Two-Twenty One will proceed directly to the Honour to render assistance. Other squadrons will remain on close patrol in case that Kilrathi battlegroup decides this is a good time to jump us.» There's a moment's pause before the voice continues, « We don't have enough carriers in this sector to lose one, gentlemen. »

    Iceblade comms afterward, « Wait, so what are the wings again?"

    Trey rolls into formation. «Well that's great. Wouldn't want us to not be thinned out and down on our luck.» The pilot flips switches and dials, checking his craft out and modulating the shields to his preferences. He sounds a little bitter over the radio, that's for sure.

    «We're always outgunned.» Paz chimes in as she does her own quick bit of configuring her ship's systems. «That's what makes us special.»

    « Christ on a pony » Is the ever-so-elegant response from a certain Australian bomber squadron commander as he checks out the IDs of the various craft deployed in space. "How'd I end up in charge of this clusterfuck?" He muses, quickly cycling his sensors through the contact list. « Right. Come about for the Honour at two-two-three mark seven. Assignments are… Tizona and Iceblade, Tsunami and Gambit. Sloppy, you're with me. Try to keep up ». Well, at least the broadsword pilot hasn't lost his sense of humor.

    «Well, what is the fun in outnumbering your enemy.» Iceblade chimes in as he pulls alongside Paz. «You can count on me Tizona.» Iceblade adds.

    «Outgunned just means there's more targets to go around for everyone.» Kanani states over the comm. She chuckles at Cole's broadcast and broadcasts an acknowledgement. «Copy that Voodoo, but I always thought it was you that needed to try and keep up with us.» She can't quite help but add a shot at the broadswords lack of speed, as her fighter pulls into formation.

    «Luck's only a factor when the enemy's the lucky one.» Quiet words there from Foster as he shakes his head a bit. «Got it,» he offers to the wing assignments. Careful about not sending the next bit of talk onto the comm channel, he begins singing a bit to himself. Pausing that to make a comment as he hears Kanani's words, «You know, someone might even hit something, then.»

    «Lead, Tizona, roger your co-ordinates. Coming about to two two three mark seven.» Paz radios, voice making it clear she's spoiling for a fight after…

    «Yes -sir-. I'm on your wing,» says Trey as he slips his over-armored space relic towards the Broadsword, «and ready to go. Do we have any forward warning of what we're coming into? That doesn't sound like a good situation. We're on a vector bravo, or is this a direct route?»

    « Negative Tsunami, it's just my excuse to admire your afterburners » Cole replies with a little chuckle, before he adds more seriously « And I'm assuming if they had that information, we've had been given it, Sloppy. As it stands, best we can do is hope we're not flying into too much of a mess. We're taking the direct line in. »

    After what seems like ages, the rescue flight group approaches the scene. And what a glorious mess they seem to have stumbled into as well… the aging light carrier has clearly seen the worse of whatever exchange it was involved in, its flight deck lacking the telltale shimmer of atmospheric containment, and a long streamer of ionized gas venting from one engine. As if the situation wasn't bad enough for the Honour, a pair of bombers are moving in to press the attack. Whatever escort the carrier might have once had is now down to a pair of Rapier fighters which are neatly boxed in by an eight of Kilrathi fighters, unable to intercept.

    « Voodoo to all craft, break and attack! Get in there at those bombers. » Cole orders, pausing for a moment before adding. « That means you too, Sloppy. Don't worry about me. » Famous last words.

    «Lead, Tizona, copy that, breaking left, now now now!» And with that, Paz heels her Scimitar into a stomach-churning, skidding turn to point her dumbfire right at where her targeting computer estimates first of the lumbering Grikaths' engines will be upon impact. From there, it's all about squeezing the trigger.

    «Nice knowing you, Voodoo,» comes the light words as Foster listens to Cole's words, before he grins a bit and moves in for one of the bombers, attempting to get into position to fire down at the thing, possibly for the cockpit area now. Muttering something to himself.

    «Tizona, Iceblade. Focusing on your target.» Iceblade comms to Paz as he switches to dumbfires and focusing in on the Grikath's body as his Scimitar flies beside Paz's. «Lets wax this guy,» Iceblade adds and he launches his dumbfire right after Paz shoots her missile.

    «Copy that, Voodoo, taking care of the Griks.» Kanani acknowledges the order, and promptly hits the burners, rocketing towards the second of the bombers, and lining up to put a heat seeker into its engines. «Fox two.» She states calmly as she pulls the trigger and the missile launches towards its target.

    Not a pleasant sight. Trey's eyes widen, but he keeps his customary calm in the face of pretty much anything. «Right, sir. Splitting off. If you need me, just give out a shout. Tizona, Iceblade. I have eyes to your target, heading one four one mark seven niner at one one zero clicks. Armed and engaging.» He blasts the afterburners and shoots towards the bomber, attempting to get a good, proper shot on it.

    James sets his weapons control over to missiles and bores in on one of the bombers settling the crosshairs over the target and squeezing the trigger once he has a lock «Fox-2» He calls over the comm-line as he fires.

    If the fight was a mess before, the addition of extra Confederation fighters certainly doesn't make it neater. The Kilrathi escorts are caught far out of position, dancing with the two Rapiers still. Both bombers loose their torpedoes, and a single one manages to impact… a last-second turn by the carrier's commander causing the torpedo to impact on one of the few undamaged sections of the carrier's armor. Both bombers pay for their run: One explodes, and a second staggers under a flurry of impacts, but doggedly turns in for another pass. The Kilrathi escorts, perhaps too late, realize there are more Confederation craft in the area, breaking off from the Rapiers to engage. A static-filled image pops up on the VDUs, rolling smoke obscuring the ceiling of a shattered CIC. « I don't know who you are, but glad to have you with us » A young woman wearing commander's stripes greets the arriving fighters.

    Crazy as always, and unable to reach the bombers, Cole turns his broadsword straight into the fighter melee. Mass driver shots tear a chunk out of the wing of one of the lumbering Kilrathi craft, before its wingman moves in to line up an attack.

    James notices a pair of Sarthas angling for a shot on him and adds a few evasive maneuvers to his attack run before squeezing off a Mass driver volley at the bomber. «Cutlass guns but I've picked up a couple of tails here.»

    Iceblade pulls the trigger before Paz gets off her dumbfire, both colliding with the Grikath after the bomber blunts the dumbfire from Trey. «Ya Hoo. Take that you Kat.» Iceblade rejoices over the comm as he pulls away and flies toward one of the Jalthis while remaining alongside Tizona. He locks on a heatseeker, holds for the ping, and prepares to fire.

    Kanani watches her missile make a mess of one of the engines on her target, but it still keeps lumbering on. «Switching to guns to declaw this cat.» She comments with a hint of annoyance over the radio. Her fighter swoops around and tries to get a nice shot from above where hopefully the armor is a bit lighter.

    Moving in for the other bomber, Foster frowns as his attack seem to bounce off the armor of the bomber. Twisting and turning to take another shot at the enemy. Keeping silent for now.

    Trey lines up a good shot onto the bomber's tail. «Hey cat. Daddy's got a fishy wishy for the little poopsy woopsie.» and then in a dull voice he adds: «Fire. Fox… something.» and shoots the missile off. It impacts into the tail section, though the pilot himself is already swinging around for a shot on the heavy fighter that's after Cole. «Who's a good kitty? Who's a good widdle kitty? Huh? Huh? Yees. Yeees. You're daddy's widdle kiddy!»

    «Iceblade, Tizona, form up and let's go for that Jalthi.» Paz radios, grinning like a possum eating a sweet potato as she watches the first of the Grikath's go up like a Roman candle. No time to celebrate just yet, there's still an awful lot of enemies out here. Flicking over to heat seekers, Paz draws the IR scanner right onto the engines of the second Jalthi and squeezes the trigger as her earphones fill with the growling sound of a tight lock.

    Combined firepower quickly brings down the heaviest of the Kilrathi craft… the second Kilrathi bomber exploding, catching its own just-launched torpedo in the blast well short of striking the Honour. Both Jalthi die as well, mobbed by reinforcements and lacking the armor to evade the volume of incoming fire.

    Cole grins under his helmet as he tracks his FF missile straight into the cockpit of his target. « Who said a 'sword can't dogfight? » Cole jokes. « See Iceblade? » he adds a moment later, before turning his bomber back in towards the fighter swarm. Is it absolutely absurd, the lumbering bomber trying to tail-chase the fastest and most nimble craft in the Kilrathi arsenal? Probably. But it doesn't seem to deter Voodoo.

    Iceblade hears the ping and launches his missile only to have it be blunted by the Jalthi's armor. Right then, the fighter explodes from other shots at it. Before Iceblade can comm, the other Jalthi and several Sartha blast at him. He tries to evade but too late the shots him home causing serious damage to his scimitar. Iceblade's right hand is hurt, but he grits through the pain and flies on attempting to evade further shots. He breaks from Paz's wing and attempts to remove some of the avoiding Sartha with a heatseeker.

    «Flight, Tizona, good shooting everybody!» Paz cheers. «That oughta get the fuzzy little bastard's attention. Iceblade, Tizona, let's mop up these escorts.» Paz radios as she warms up her remaining heat seeker and lets its seeker head drift over and attach itself to the glowing hot tail pipe of escort-5.

    James winces as a Neutron burst strikes his Stiletto, «This is Cutlass I'm hit but it's not bad.» He transmits then swings around to engage the fighter that had hit him.

    «Hey, what's with trying to ruin my paint?» comes from Foster after a few shots hit the Englishman's fighter. «Time to show those guys that they can't behave like that!» Turning to attack one of the escorts.

    Kanani can't say she's really surprised that her mass driver shots didn't do much of anything to the bomber, so she gives a bit of a shrug, and heads off to greener pastures, lining up her heat seekers with one of the Sarthas and launches once she gets a lock.

    The blast from the heavy fighter is bright enough that Trey has to cover his face with his arm, though he recovers and shoots through the debris at double haste, his shot having mixed with Tizona's to generate a really bad day for a Kilrathi. «Sir, watch your six. Sartha designation Epsilon six is on you, heading one one one mark one nine six. I'm moving to intercept.»

    Paz's heat seeker flies true, but a last minute flare diverts it from its intended target, causing it to bury itself into the Sartha's belly. Which turns out to have rather disastrous consequences for its pilot. The first of her enemies' neutron blasts scream by her plane but miss wide. «Ha-ha-ha…missed m…» Paz starts to taunt when her craft suddenly lurches as one of the Sartha's neutron guns smacks into the port side of her craft. "Oh no you don't, you mangy, flea bitten little bastard." she growls, pulling her ship into a steep climb and switching to guns before diving at her attacker, mass driver's blazing.

    Iceblade fires his next shot, but it loses lock due to the heavy evading, which nearly shakes the scimitar apart from the sartha exploding as it passes him. He pulls his fighter and turns around to attack another Sartha with his last dumbfire.

    James notices that one of the enemy fighters has turned back to attack him and swings to meet it in a head on pass weaving a little before squeezing off a volley «Cutlass Guns.» He calls over the comm.

    Cole shakes his head as his missile slams into a target, and this time fails to destroy it. « No you don't, you little shit. Get back here » Voodoo growls into his open comm as his broadsword swings around to try and line up its guns at the little light fighter. It would almost be comical, if the stakes weren't life and death.

    Kanani chuckles as her missile flies into the Sartha she was targeting and blows it up. She then rolls her ship over, in order to line up yet another shot. «Looks like things ain't going so well for the kitty cats, today.»
    Still trying to get to those remaining enemy fighters, Foster starts climbing, attempting to come down from above at an angle where the kitten pilot can't see him.

    A love tap, they call it. A tap on the cheek. A big, wet, sloppy kiss. Others would say the Kilrathi on Trey's tail manages to strike his starfighter with a stream of neutrons. The range is a bit farther, the shot taken out of desperation more than anything else. It hits, but only singes some armor plates. He swings around, listening for the tones that echo throughout his cockpit, and then launches the missile. It tears his target to pieces, parts flying in every which direction, which the pilot uses as a diversion. He flies through it, then pulls back into a split S, hungry for his next target and eager for lock.

    « This is worse than that bloody transport » Cole grumbles as three fighters all shoot his target, and the Sartha still somehow manages to hold together. The Broadsword keeps up its rather awkward pursuit of the target, not even close to able to catch up… but at least traversing its main guns inside the arc of the fighter's movement, to keep throwing a steady stream of silver-grey mass driver slugs its way. « Down to two now, wing. Mind your backgrounds when you shoot » Cole orders.

    James smiles as his shot and several others plow into his target while the neutron burst aimed his way misses. He stays on his current target «Cutlass Guns!» he announces as he squeezes the trigger.

    Iceblade, even while evading, manages to get a solid shot off but the Sartha's fire blasts the dumbfire before it hits. Iceblade pulls around and sees the light fighter explode from repeated hits from the other Confed craft. Iceblade starts scanning and targets the Sartha Paz is gunning for as he switches to mass drivers, lines up and blasts away straight toward the target.

    "Damn it…" Paz swears as her quarry veers at the last second, sending the bulk of her mass driver rounds into the craft's wing, but she does manage to get one lucky tracer through the side windscreen, and that tickles her some. What doesn't tickle her is the second, more punishing neutron blast that bakes off another small slab of armor, causing all kinds of electrical faults and failures. Fortunately, Scimitars have back ups for the backups. Undeterred, and in point of fact, now quite pissed, Paz bottoms out her dive and points the nose of her Scimitar at the maddeningly stubborn Sartha she's trying to kill, waiting for the moment to depress the triggers and hopefully, shred the little Kilrathi shit that tried to kill her.

    Trey drops a missile into the cockpit of one of the few remaining Kilrathi fighters, leaving death and suffering in his wake. There is a joke to be had, here. He swings towards the next craft. «Well I was on an orphanage for as long as I can remember, sir.» Trey 'minds his background' as he scrambles for lock. «When I turned eighteen, I signed up with Argus Traders. Is this actually the time for this, sir?»

    Foster frowns a little bit as he sees one more enemy go down in flames. Turning his attention to the lucky enemy, moving to take it out. Keeping silent, at least for those outside of his cockpit, he's singing to himself again.

    Kanani grins slightly as another of the Sartha is taken out, even if she wasn't the one to get the kill. Now out of missiles she switches to guns and swoops her fighter around to go after the one Cat that hasn't taken any damage yet, opening fire once she sees a good shot.

    Iceblade smiles as his guns hit home contributing to the Sartha's demise. Iceblade, whose ship is practically destroyed and who could only marginally make out the others' comms, attempts to radio to the wing. «He…….id..Da…uck…»

    As the last two Kilrathi fighters shatter amidst combined weapons fire, the communications from the Honour click open again. « Thanks again for the assistance. Not sure we would have survived that without you. »
    And as suddenly as it begun, it's over. The space around her filled with rapidly expanding clouds of fire and debris, Paz pulls her damaged craft carefully out of the combat zone and into clear space before starting to run diagnostics on her bird. «Lead, Tizona, Sitrep. Got a little cooked over here, but nothing critical. Trim is good, gimbals are good, internal nav is good, engines are in the green. Looks like mostly superficial damage,» she reports. «Iceblade, say your status, over?» she calls, swiveling in her seat to try and spot her wingman.

    Trey screams in towards the craft behind Paz's, banking slightly to one side. This is important because it's the -wrong- side, and it slowly causes the craft to fall out of his sights… but not before he gets tone. «Fox… five? Six? I can never remember.» Whatever. The heatseaker shoots for the cat and leaves nothing but fur and entrails in its wake. He does a long roll and shoots across the bow of the Honour, effectively buzzing her, though at a naval-friendly sort of distance.

    Kanani looks over her scanners as well as doing a visual check, to make sure that that was the last of the cats in the area. «Lead, Tsunami. Looks like the skies are nice and clear around here for the moment, so far as I can tell.» She states, her fighter rolling and twisting around, so she can get a good look at the CZ.

    Foster leans back in the cockpit a little bit now that the enemies seem to have gone to wherever the Kilrathi go when they die. «Should we stay around for longer, or is it time to head back home and get some rest?»

    «Crusader, Raven, Tizona.» Paz calls. «Damn good flying out here. You guys done good.» she compliments and, ~gasp~ actually sounds sincere.

    Iceblade attempts to call over the radio, deciding to attempt a one-word spelled-out response. «..F…F..U…..U..C…C..C..KK……….DD…..».

    « Pull in with the Honour » Cole orders. « Stick tight, watch out in case there are more of them. We're still not out of the woods yet. Not until we've got her safely under the Majestic's guns. »

    «Iceblade, you're breaking up…I do not have a visual on you, repeat, do not have a visual.» Paz radios, sounding more than a little put out with this sorry state of affairs. «Wingmen are supposed to stay on the _wing_, Iceblade.» she chides. «Does anyone have eyes on Iceblade?»

    After a minute Iceblade finally pulls up to Tizona flying at 200 kps (just over half-speed).

    Trey thunders across the TCS Honour… well, not thunders. He IS in a Scimitar, afterall. It would be more exacting to state that he coasts across the carrier. «Negative. No visual. I… no. No Iceblade, and judging by the comms, I'm guessing he didn't hear that, either.» He checks his craft over. «Not a scratch on her. You know, is it just me, or am I not the only guy in this squadron who's really -not- looking forward to flying some shiny new ships? I like the Scim. It's… solid. I know what it's going to do.»

    Kanani slides her Stiletto neatly into escort formation above the Honour, lazily weaving around a bit as she does so.

    «Iceblade, Tizona, if you're receiving this, strobe your landing lights twice.» Paz calls.

    Cole's bomber pulls in along with the Honour as well, moving in behind the carrier for a moment to take a look at the damage. « Gonna be a long flight back, folks. Grab your pillows. » Cole comments from where he's sitting. « Looks like the dorsal engine took a direct hit and the left ventral overloaded. »

    Iceblade's Scim is mashed in on both sides especially on the right side. Iceblade strobes his landing lights twice.

    «Okay, I'll walk you through this.» Paz calls. «Look to the bottom, right hand side of your console, you'll see a breaker box. Open that box.» she instructs. «You'll see a double stack of circuit breakers. The one for your comms is the middle breaker on the left hand side. Strobe your lights if you copy.»

    Iceblade opens the box with a very hard humpf using his left hand. He sees the wire practically disconnected. He strobes his light once. There is a big bulge at the back of the box.

    Trey glances out his canopy towards Iceblade and mutters something under his breath. He swings his craft towards him, coming in low, then putting on the breaks to position himself behind and beneath him a fair distance away. Fair enough that a mechanical mishap won't take them both out, but close enough that if Kilrathi should fly in from nowhere, the other man's double-protected. «Plenty of damage to go around sir. I'd read you a bedtime story, but I think we've got a minor situation here.»

    Iceblade attempts to lower his landing gear. The left landing gear lowers with trouble, but the one on the right stops halfway.

    Kanani glances around the tiny space that is the cockpit of a Stiletto fighter, and smirks slightly at the bomber pilot's call for pillows. « Very funny sir. But those of us that don't fly around in relics don't have the wasted space to carry any pillows around.»

    « I do keep forgetting you don't fly your fighter, you wear it » Cole replies with a little bit of a grin at the response from Kanani. « One more reason I'm happy to stick to my broadsword, thank you very much »

    «Iceblade, Tizona, your gear's working fine.» Paz comments drolly. «Okay, back to the task at hand, and listen good, we don't have a lot of time. Pull the middle left hand breaker out. Then pull the second breaker on the right and put it in the middle left hand breaker's place. You'll lose a few secondary systems, but you don't need 'em. You need to be able to communicate more.» she calls. «Strobe your lights again, then broadcast.»

    Iceblade begins tinkering as ordered. One minute later, he strobes his lights and attempts a broadcast. «Test..Te..ng.an..you hear..e»

    «Negative on the gear, Tizona. Iceblade, you don't have all three points extended. Be advised of that. If we can't get them down, then we'll have to get an evac team out when we reach home.» Adds Trey with a dour tone to his voice, «We've already had one landing fail. I'm guessing the Commodore would simply explode if we, god forbid, had a mishap. I'm standing by.» He drops behind Iceblade by a few more clicks.

    «Roger, Iceblade, I am receiving.» Paz replies, sighing with relief. «Be advised, you need to adjust the gain on your comm, still got some break up, just dial it back in.»

    Iceblade comms in, «Rog..Sloppy. Let m..ow..f this w.rks.» Iceblade then begins to raise his right landing gear and lowers it and raises it and lowers it again. Then it raises all the way up and he lowers it one last time. As it lowers, it begins to hang for a second at the midpoint, but with a jerk it pushes past and goes full extended. Iceblade then reduces the gain «Better? Is it better now?»

    «Yeah. That's good. Signal's a little strong, but we've got you. WHat's your sitrep, Iceblade? You've got a gear problem, but that's only a problem if you don't know. And you do now, so… problem solved.» Trey continues along, and shoots a glance towards Paz in her Scimitar, then back to Iceblade.

    «Iceblade, Tizona, reading you five by five.» Paz replies happily. «Tuck in on my wing and we'll take high dorsal cover of the carrier, over?»

    «Roger Tiz,» Iceblade comms with some relief. «Oh just FYI, this will be the first time, I've landed a fighter this banged up.»

    «Just take it really slow, alright? The 187th did us all a favor, if you want to get really black, by having their mishap. The 1087th used to be the laughing stock of the carrier, so take this slow and easy and show them that us reservists can fly a freaking fighter.»

    «The Honour's ships did a good job.» Paz adds over the radio, her tone still admiring. «Two ships, against all that, and they held them off long enough for the cavalry to come?»

    Iceblade comms over in a less serious tone, «I don't think you have to worry because while I don't want to tarnish the 1087th even though technically I'm not a reservist, I really don't want to die from crashing.» Iceblade then adds with offhandedly, «Oh, and more than likely my plane won't crash. It might implode when it hits atmosphere, but it certainly won't go smashing into anything.» Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to this statement, since while the plane will be near stopped when it hits the atmospheric barrier, the structural integrity of the scimitar may be so weak that it crushes in when the craft hits the increased pressure of the recovery deck.

    «Those guys are the ones who are left, Tizona.» Trey's tone is not glib, but nor is it dark. «TCS Honour's a carrier. Bet those two guys are going to be a mess. Probably lost a lot of friends. Pretty sure that -someone- fucked something up pretty bad, but what do I know?» He continues along. «Not a reservist, huh? How'd you end up with us, then? We're all weekend warriors and privateers who didn't read beneath the dotted line.»

    Iceblade responds to Trey, «Well, I wanted to fly in something heavier, so my former captain got me transferred to the 1087th. I imagine you are always in need of new pilots anyway. Besides, this war is not going to end in a Confed victory any time soon, so reservists squadrons are going to remain on full active service for the foreseeable future.» Iceblade then contemplates the Honour, «how many fighters do you suppose she had in the air before its bay was damaged?»

    After a long, slow crawl across space, the 1087th and the 221st shepherd the TCS Honour into the carefully sanitized space near the TCS Majestic. «Majestic Flight, Control, marshal at one five two mark two one four, tankers are standing by.» the carrier instructs. «Welcome back. Good work out there.»

    «Control, this is Sloppy. Thanks for the welcome. We're coming home to roost.»

    «Control. This is Iceblade. I am coming in pretty banged up, so make sure the deck is clear when I land.»

    «Copy, Iceblade, crash units standing by…maintain position until all other birds are landed then proceed with landing.» the Majestic's LSO replies. «Tizona, Majestic, you are clear to land on port bay number seven.»

    «Copy, Majestic, coming in on port number seven,….» Paz calls, flying her ship neatly home.

    Kanani yawns slightly, after a boring and slow return trip escorting the beat up old carrier, and she activates her comm, once the carrier is parked all nice and snug in its spot. «Control, this is Tsunami, requesting clearance to land.»
     
  4. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    The Rescue of the TCS Honour (cont.)

    Flight Deck
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 0009 Hours 2658.135

    Open to space on three sides, the flight deck provides space for returning craft to properly align themselves and engage the landing tractor beams. The beams themselves are generated from a series of emitters starting at the front edge of the deck, and ending about halfway to the recovery deck entrance - the closest to the ship they can still safely slow a fighter for landing. Bright red numbers halfway down the deck bear the carrier's hull code: 22, as well as serving as a visual reference for when a pilot needs to engage the beams or abort for another pass.

    «Roger control, wish me luck, Ice out.» After the landing of the other fighters, Iceblade's scimitar slowly makes it way to the edge of the flight deck under a slower speed than normal for Iceblade. He slowly lets the wheels touch down and make traction with ship before slowly applying his brakes.

    _

    Recovery Deck
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 0010 Hours 2658.135

    Set behind the flight deck, the recovery deck is a single cavernous space dedicated to the processing and repair of damaged fighter craft. A network of taxi lines crosses the decking here, directing across the deck to a pair of assessment stations, then further to the series of repair hangars, or on to the elevators to the ready line below. The repair hangars occupy both sides of the deck, open facings showing spacecraft in a variety of stages of repair. At the fore end, the deck is open to space with a shimmering blue barrier of energy serving to keep the atmosphere in and the vacuum out. Retracted down into the floor is a heavy bay door to seal the deck in the even power to the containment field is lost.

    Kanani stifles a yawn as she pulls her helmet off, and cracks open her Stiletto. And of course even that isn't enough to be done with the whole thing in the military, since she has to go about all the check lists and stuff as well, before she can do anything else.

    Trey climbs out of the Scimitar. "What, no more shoe-horning into the old iron tank?" He makes his way down the ladder. "I'm pretty much at home in these. It's the new ones that really scare me." He's quite intentionally not mentioned the extra pip on his collar. "All… high tech and fancy. If it hasn't had a hundred years to bake in the solar flares, then I'm not too sure I even trust it." It's in his eyes. The man's actually a little unnerved about this.

    When Ice finally reaches the atmospheric barrier, he is going 5 mph. The ship breaks through the barrier not seeming to react negatively to the increased pressure. Just then a shudder is felt through the fighter. It slowly finishes its way through the barrier, shaking as it goes. Then when the fighter slowly comes to a complete stop, it gives one final shudder and then begins settling. Creaking away as the fighter's power is shut down and the pilot begins exiting procedures. Iceblade opens the canopy being careful not to initiate the eject seat, and he comes down the ladder, exiting the old fighter, only a bit shaken but certainly not stirred.

    Phillip looks down at his hand which is wrapped tightly but poorly in gauze from the first aid kit. "I better get through decontame quick, so I better get medical to look this hand."

    "Vaya con Dios, amigo." Paz sighs, pulling out her medallion of St. Joseph of Cupertino and giving it a kiss. "Lord, this ship and those like it have done us yeoman's service." she intones quietly. "Though they be only machines, let them, nor those who have flown them, not be forgotten. They have borne the harshest duty, and have not wavered. Remember Jolly, Spaceboy, Crankshaft, and all of the others who gave their lives to save their friends. For thine is the power, and the glory, forever and ever…Amen…"

    Trey respectfully stands by while Paz pays her due respects. He pulls from under his shirt a pendant of Saint Sebastian, oddly enough. "Yeah. Respects to the dead. Squadron isn't calling it quits, though. It's not as though they're not getting honored the same way they always were. Just… it's more modern now." Once Paz finishes her Amen, he waits a respectul number of seconds, and then slips the pendant back under his shirt, "Yeah. You should have a look taken at that hand, Phil."

    After 24 hours of nonstop work cleaning and clearing the damage of the disaster while still recovering from his wounds, then forced into another 24 away from the deck, newly minted Technical Sergeant Weiss has emerged from wherever he has been hiding himself and onto his deck. He looks cleaned up, though unshaven and still pale.. haggard even.. using his crutch-like forearm-cane more heavily than he did before the accident. His boys and girls all blink and stand straighter as he pushes his way towards the pilots who have just returned, teeth grit around the large cigar.

    Phillip looks back at the second scimitar he has damaged in as many days and sighs. "Good riddance," Iceblade whispers. He then turns to Trey, "yeah, but I still don't really feel the pai….ah Shit." Iceblade adds with a grimace, "looks like my adrenaline level finally dropped." Iceblade then heads to decontame and starts moving toward the forelift afterward.

    Scrubbing her face with the back of one hand, Paz steps down off the stairs and fills out her last Yellow sheet for a Scimitar. "She did good." she tells the tech who passed it to her. "They always do."

    Kanani stretches out a bit as she finally slides down onto the deck, after having finished the post flight check out dance. She turns around to watch the two Minutemen pilot's little ceremony at Paz's Scim, and gives a bit of a chuckle and a headshake.

    "Hey, Weiss, do me a favor, will ya? Save the yoke assembly…" Paz calls, waving to the newly christened Tech Sergeant. "I'll mount it on my new bird."

    Trey: He of no such attachments. "How long have you been flying these things, Paz? I didn't know you felt that connected to them. I always felt like it was just a tool, you know?" Trey slips a hand into his pocket and starts to walk with Paz. "You know… means to an end. Keep my ass out of medical, give the 221st something to laugh about, and we all go home with visions of dead cat dancing in our heads, you know?"

    Paz chuckles and shrugs a little. "Call me sentimental…Scim's the only ship I've ever flown in combat….Saved my ass a dozen times over, so…" she replies letting her voice trail off. "There's a lot of personal history in these ships for me." she adds, closing her eyes and gulping quietly before continuing, "Lot of friends…ya know?"

    Trey puts his hand on Paz's shoulder and gives it a squeeze. "If it's any consolation, I get a little teared up about Draymans. You want to talk about friends I've lost…" The man cuts the air with his hand. "Last time we went on an escort mission and lost a cargo ship, well…" He lowers his voice, "It hurt worse than what it should've. I mean, it's supposed to hurt. People died, supplies gone… but it gets to me."

    Weiss comes to a stop a few feet away from the pilots as they are getting out of their soon to be relocated and repurposed Scimitars. He puffs a few times on his cigar staring at each of the pilots in turn. He looks wary and haunted and probably hasn't slept well, even with painkillers.. His lip curls slightly. "Oh no, fraulein. Do not vorry. I vill make sure dat you get yuir stick. But you.. /all/ uv you.. Have one last assignment." He puts his good hand to his lips and whistles once, loudly. ALL his 'kids' come to a stop. "Until each and every Rapier haz been cleared by me.. Every nut and bolt examined.. EVERY reactor checked so we know zat we didn't get some refurbed peice of shit I believe maybe vas one of a few MAJOR factors in the fiazco.. Until zey ALL show green NO ONE vill be flying zem. BUT!" he says, now with a small glint of his former self in his grey eyes.. Maybe a but maliious. "BUT! You pilots not to worry. besides recerting on rapier simulators. I have NEW assignment for you." He snaps his fingers and a dozen techs appear.. with buckets and scrub brushes. "I vill NOT have any zese birds released looking like.. like ZIS!" his hands sweep to them in their scorched glory. "So! Make sure zey SHINE! And YOU!" he says, turning to Phillip.. a man he hasn't met personally yet but DID see him come in with his nearly deep fried bird. "Oh yes.. You get SPECIAL treatment." And One of his people brings out a bucket and a toothbrush. And Weiss's grin becomes evil.

    Phillip looks incredulously at the head tech. "You do release that that fighter is practically unsalvageable, right."

    "Yeah….I know, Trey, I know." Paz replies, patting Trey's hand fondly and nodding soberly before Weiss' speech leaves her nearly collapsing to the deck with laughter. "Aw, hell yes!" she replies. "C'mon, Sloppy, let's make our birds _shine_ for posterity!

    Weiss eyes Phillip.. an evil look when coupled with the white streak in his hair and the massive cigar. "Oh JA. I do know, Ist vhy mein boys and girls will strip it down of all ze flotsam. But after you are done, I vant it to be ze BEST looking.. ze PRETTIEST.. peice of unsalvageable junk in zis sector." he says. Then he looks to Paz and the others. "Oh yes.. I vant zem oh so pretty. Oh.. and one more ting?"

    Kanani grins slightly as she watches the Minutemen accosted by the Deck Chief, and told to clean up their ships. She does manage to keep from laughing, since drawing the attention of the techs like that is usually a bad idea.

    Trey peers across the deck at Weiss. He doesn't say anything. In fact, the man is focusing on that. Concentrating on not saying a blessed word. He looks to Paz, then he looks to Phillip, then he looks back to Paz again and raises an index finger, "I'll go get a mop."

    Iceblade's Scimitar sits structurally unsound, with each side being a bashed-in wreck of metal. Shield emitters are destroyed, weapons are in-tact, but there is no way missiles could be mounted. The cockpit's walls are partially bulged inwards toward the seat, and pieces of armor are just now clanking onto the ground piece by piece as one of the crew starts to pull the fighter away. He stops immediately.

    Phillip realizing that there is no way he is going to be able to go to medical for his hand, heads to the bathroom to quickly clean the wound and rewrap the gauze. Phillip hollers back at the chief as he walks to the bathroom, "yeah yeah I'll be right back."

    Without a word Weiss limps down the deck towards the forcefield, making it obvious he wishes for the whole group, techs and pilots to follow. It takes several minutes and he brooks no disagreement, even if he is in more pain than usual. When he finally gets to the field he turns to the group and reaches into his pocket to pull out a box. He flips it open to show its contents. A new medal. Still shiny and almost glowing. "Zis.. Zis ist de Blaze Meddalion. I supposedly earned zis.. For 'conspicuous gallantry"." He snorts at that and reaches into his belt loop for something. "I earned zis by KILLING a damned pilot." With some effort he kneels down and withdraws his portawelder..and in a few flashes the medal is bonded to the very lip of the deck, where nothing can actually run over it but can still be seen if one looks. He then looks to everyone. "I heard ze message. And I have heard zome people talk. yes, Naga vas a grade "A" fuck up.. Not mein vords.. LOTS of people saying zat. But she vas one of US! Her only crime, other zen not paying attention or not realizing how bad uv pilot she vas? Her only crime vas she still had ze guts to VANT to come here and FIGHT. She should NEVER have been cleared by her instructors. Zis is on ZEM!" he growls and slowly stands. "She fucked up.. people died. And I vill NEVER forgive myself for what I had to do.. and vhat I vould do AGAIN to ANY ONe UV YOU!. But after all zat she vas one uv US! I vant EVERYONE to remember dat. Because I NEVER vill. So everytime you take off or land from /mein/ deck, you vill see zis. And remember. It could have been you. So make sure your shit is together. Understood?"

    "Iceblade, get your ass to medical and get that hand tended to!" Paz shouts. "Work'll still be here when you're fixed."

    After hearing that, Phillip responds, "Sir, yes Sir," Phillip salutes at attention making it clear that he understands that as a direct order. Phillip then books it to the Forelift and up he goes.

    Paz comes to attention at Wiess' speech. "Understood, sarge." she replies quietly, kissing her medallion again.

    Trey just shakes his head. "Man. That's weird. He actually requested this squadron because we had a bunch of old birds, and now he's happy to see them go." He chuckles to himself. Good freaking god, man. He exhales, "So… anyone mention the insanity to you yet, Paz?" He strolls towards his bird… which is in perfect shape, by the way, and sighs, listening to Weiss. "You know… I think the Commodore was a little harsh in that statement he made, but it doesn't matter for anything in the end. What you had to do, man… that hurt. I'm sure it hurt." He nods his head slowly. "You've got props from me. That's some shit to deal with. That's some shit."

    Weiss puffs his cigar then flicks it out through the forcefield, the energy screen flickering a moment as the cancer tube topples through and snuffs out in the vacuum of space. He looks to trey and just nods. "Ja.. But ve all have to deal, do ve not." he looks at everyone else, then smirking at Paz. "It's Chief. Sounds better." he reminds her as he limps past and starts waving down techies. "WELL! VHAT ARE YOU SITTING AROUND FOR. You have VORK to do /Gott verdammt/. /Bewegen/! Get moving. We have deadlines. I vant zese peices of shit patched and treated with respect before we retire entire sorry lot of zem.. and ZEN.. ZEN we are going to be going over every rapier more intimately zen yuir first prom date! Ve can sleep when ve are DEAD!"

    Paz salutes and promptly turns-to with mop vacuums and brushes..whistling and half-singing 'Astronomy Dominae' by Pink Floyd as she does her best detailing work on her Scimitar. "Hey, Chief!" she calls. "Not to complain, but is there a reason we're doing this?" she inquires. "Are we making museum pieces?"

    Trey rubs his temples. "I think it's a stress test. Fly out, get shot at by cats, save the other half of the fleet, come home and feel like a fatigued mess, as usual." He shakes his head, "And then the deck chief suggests we really should so some chores." He doesn't sound like he objects to the idea as much as he's just tired. "But hey. Physical labor keeps you humble, right? You know, chief… that feeling you got? We get that too. So you're in good company. Nobody blames you for what you did, but we know what it's like when people die and it's got something to do with you."

    Weiss half turns as he gets to his workstation that is mounted on a cart and grins. "Vahss?" he asks. The grins even wider. "Oh.. Not at all. I just not want anyone tinking ve are a bunch of slobs. I mean, I know ve are but ZEY not have to know zat. We are ze Majestic. Anything less ist.. uncivilized." he winks, though his good humour still rings a LITTLE hollow.. and probably will for a while. "Now stop bothering me. I need to make sure your NEW birds are worth ze hassle of reading stupid manuals." He shrugs at Trey but smiles still. "I know I am in good company. Now just have to make you all GREAT company. But am only a glorified technician.. Not miracle worker." And with that he pulls out the tablet PC as he sits on a swivel stool stolen from the lounge and starts doing his job. "och! Stupid IDIOTS! Who puts thermal exhaust port ZERE?" he cries at the tablet and hangs his head. "Ze gods.. zey HATE me."
     
  5. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Rescue of a Stranded Honour Patrol

    Briefing Room

    Set above the ready line, this sizable room serves as a briefing area for the Majestic's air wing. Stadium-style seating in five rows provides space for sixty pilots or other flight crew. At the front of the room, a lectern with the Confederation logo stands on a raised platform for presentations, with a trio of chairs located behind it. A large vidscreen is set into the wall, for projecting mission flight paths or other critical information. The side walls are decorated with the insignia of the squadrons operating off of the Majestic.

    Cole stands at the lectern at the front of the room, still in his flight suit from the previous little operation, looking towards the pilots filing in. "If you'll all be so kind as to take your seats, we'll get started. Sorry to turn everyone around so fast, but we've got a short fuse on this one."

    Kanani makes her way over to the 221st's seating area, quickly finding a place to sit, and then waits to hear what the heck's going on now, trying to keep from yawning or anything.

    Phillip is still in his suit, though it looks a little ruffled from several hours sleep. He enters the room and heads toward his usual seat. He looks around and notices a few absences.

    Another person still in flight suit would be Foster. Making his way in now, he heads for one of the seats, humming a bit to himself as he looks around. "How short?" he asked, after a few moments. Taking a seat not far from the one Kanani's taken, he leans back in the seat, looking towards the front now.

    Stepping into the briefing room at the time that he was ordered to show up at, Kell's eyes takes a look around the room and notes a couple of new faces. He also heads towards where the pilots of the sleek Stiletto fighters are situated, sitting down on a chair next to Kanani in a rather casual manner, leaning back as he waits for the briefing to start.

    Leaning over slightly, the young Lieutenant whispers a quick question to his squadronmate, "Heard anything about this mission? I get the feeling we'll be flying escort, since he's the head honcho of the bloated bombers." Kell ends with a slight motion of his head towards Cole, who is hosting this briefing.

    "As I'm sure most of you are aware, the TCS Honour is currently sitting in formation with us undergoing repairs. From the reports her acting Captain has provided, she was attacked in Nexus and took some choice hits in short order. We're not quite sure how the Kilrathi got in on her the way they did, I suspect they're too busy putting their asses back together to do much analysis right now. A number of her fighters were out on long-range patrol, and returned when the carrier sent her initial distress call. Kilrathi reinforcements prevented them from ever reaching the Honour. Instead, they engaged with what had been a second wave of Kilrathi moving in for the attack. With no carrier left in the system, those pilots… if they are alive… are now stranded. We are going to correct that situation"

    "Haven't got a clue, really." Kanani whispers over to Kell, and then shuts up, as Cole starts to explain things. She frowns slightly as she ponders what's to be the mission as something hits her, and she whispers some more to Kell out of the corner of her mouth. "Wonder how exactly we're supposed to do that."

    Foster shakes his head to Kell as he hears that, before he raises his brow a bit at that part about what Cole said that Kanani pointed out. "I'm sure they'll pull something out of the hat, so to speak…"

    As the briefing continues, Kell only shrugs his shoulders slightly at Kanani, showing that he has no idea himself before turning his full attention back to Cole while leaning back in his seat. Rescuing pilots is certainly a good mission, though he has a feeling it'll be some time before they launch since the Carrier will have to chug there with the fleet to jump through to Nexus.

    Trey's reaction, if one can call it that, is amusement. Not the glib variety, but the darker flavor. The 'this is some shit we're in' sort of amusement. The kind that prevents tears. Fingers tap against his clipboard, but he's otherwise sinking into his seat, watching the screen and listening.

    Phillip sits down, and Cole begins his briefing. Phillip's eyes go a little wide as he listens, feeling unsure as to what Cole has in mind. He turns his head momentarily at Trey's entrance, but he turns back to Cole a second later thinking about the possible mission ahead. He whispers quickly to Trey, "Paz still cleaning?"

    "Unfortunately, with a wrecked carrier to play mother hen over, the battlegroup is unable to detach an escort for the duty." Ahh, the lovely arithmetic of war. "So, instead we're going to have to be a little creative. We're going to take a flight of broadswords through the jump and head out to the last known coordinates of their fighter craft. If anyone's still alive out there, we'll be able to tractor the ejection pods in and bring them back." There's a moment's pause, before he adds. "And yes, I said Broadswords. Congratulations, half of you have just been drafted to join me in flying this crazy stunt. The other half of you have just become gunners."

    As Cole continues with the plan for this upcoming mission, Kell gets a sinking feeling in his stomach as he hears that the carrier will be staying put. When his worst fears are confirmed, however, he lets out a groan and shuts his eyes for a few moments. The Lieutenant doesn't try to back out of the mission, since he knows what needs to be done, it's just that his luck with the 'Swords have been awful.

    Kanani just shakes her head at this news, and glances over at her two squadron mates, before whispering. "Geeze, it's even worse than I thought. Someone," she doesn't bother to identify this someone, but it should be clear who might be it, "is an evil bastard." She whispers with a smirk.

    Foster blinks a bit at what he hears now, grimacing a little bit, "This is a crazy idea…" he whispers to the others nearby, before he looks up to the front again.

    Trey Grayson's reaction? More of the same. The man is smiling, shaking his head incredulously, like the whole thing is just amusing as hell the same way one might find it amusing to die of a catch 22. The laugh track that only he can hear is interrupted by Phillip, to whom the man turns, leaning back in his chair, "Of course not. Escort duty, I think. That or CAP." he turns towards Cole and raises a hand… His index and ring fingers are together, with a thumb holding a pen against them at an angle, "Sir?"

    Phillip nods real quick and then focuses back on the Captain. His eyes pop open real wide at the mention of flying Broadswords. When Cole pauses, Iceblade gives a quick look to Trey and back up to Cole still a little surprised by this idea.

    Cole pauses in his delivery, looking along towards Trey. "Yes, Lieutenant?" he calls, offering a slight wave of his hand over in Sloppy's direction.

    "Captain Cole, sir… you said we're flying Broads in with crew and we're coming into a potential hotzone, -SO-…" He punctuates this with a waggle of his pen, which he's still holding in the air, "With limited intel, I'm guessing we don't know what we're walking into. I didn't hear you mention fighter cover, in case we run into some kittens. I realize you've -clearly- got no problem swatting Snookums in the face with a Broad but the rest of us aren't so gifted. I mean… we -can- be at a moment's notice, sir. If you say we need to jump, I won't ask how high. I'll just strap on a rocket pack. I'm just sayin', is all."

    "Sloppy, if you can figure out a way to get a jump drive into a Scim, Rapier, or Stiletto in the space of the next ten minutes, you'd be the most popular man on the ship at the moment. Though let me assure you, Douglas Aerospace has been working at it for years." Cole explains. "As it is, the 'Swords are the only secondary craft we have with jump drives, and thus the only way we've got of getting back into Nexus without capital ship support."

    Trey nods, "Right. So.. TCS Honour's still not kicking baby birds out of the next. I was afraid you were going to say that." He lowers his HAND and bounces his back into his chair a few times. More grim amusement. The divine comedy. Clearly.

    Kanani turns her gaze from the podium towards Trey, as he asks the Captain his question, and shrugs a bit. By her expression, she's, if not particularly pleased about flying in a 'sword, but at least she's resigned to that fate for the moment.

    Foster shakes his head a little bit as he listens for the moment, keeping quiet for now.

    "Right now, I think the Honour's glad it isn't kicking the bucket. Four fish is more than any light carrier has a right to survive," Cole explains, pausing for a moment and looking over the gathering. "I realize this is a little outside the usual. But I'd like to think, if our places were reversed, the Honour's people would do the same for us." That said, he continues on with the business of the day. "Razor, Iceblade. You're in dash two. Razor's flying. Sloppy, Gambit have dash three. Sloppy's flying. Tsunami, afraid you're stuck with me in dash one. Questions?"

    Phillip shakes his head in the negative.

    As the mission is finalized, any reservations or ill feelings that Kell might have is pushed away since serious business is about to start. He looks around briefly trying to see who 'Iceblade' is since the callsign doesn't ring a bell, but when he doesn't see anyone looking towards him, he turns towards Kanani and Foster. Giving both a nod as if to say good luck, Razor sits up and gets ready to rise once the order to head towards the bombers are given.

    Kanani shakes her head some more, and nods towards her two squad mates as well, waiting to see if there's any questions before the mission starts up.

    Trey glances towards Foster, nods once to the man, and then turns back to the podium.

    The Broadsword's cockpit seems to be unusually spacious for a Confederation craft, likely due to being located in a larger hull. The traditional bank of consoles surrounds the pilot, with MFDs to either side, damage and fuel indicators left and right of center, and the radar display directly in front of the pilot. The top half of the cockpit is entirely clearsteel, with the exception of the supporting struts where the plates are joined. The biggest change from this from a standard confederation craft, however, is that the cockpit is not designed to open, instead accessible by a door that leads towards the rear of the craft and the three bulbous turrets mounted there. Ingress and egress are performed through a hatch set into the floor between the three turrets.

    Trey checks the controls on the ship, leaning back into his chair and flipping various switches overhead. "God… what a lumbering pile of steel. I love it. You clean back there?"

    Sloppy says, "Control, Control, Control, this is Bravo Sigma One Three Stroke Three requesting clearance for launch, in deference to element lead Dash one. Pleaaaase advise, control."

    "Good," comes the short reply from Foster now, as he looks over the guns for a few moments.

    Iceblade says, "Razor, Ice. Ready to protect our tail, Razor."

    The flight out towards the jump point might be long at Broadsword-speeds, but it's at least uneventful. Four Raptor-class heavy fighters are waiting at the jump point, Majestic's guard against a further Kilrathi intrusion. As the three craft make their way to the jump in formation, there's a brief but brilliant flash of blue-white light and the fighters disappear… reappearing a moment later in Nexus, with the gut-wrenching sensation that accompanies a jump. « All craft, come to heading zero six seven mark negative four six. Last known position of the Honour's fighters has been designated Nav 1, two hundred eight seven thousand kilometers out. » Cole orders, as his own broadsword lumbers around towards the appropriate heading. That said, he kills the mic and looks back over his shoulder for a moment to Kanani. "Doing alright back there?"

    Kanani chuckles slightly at the question from Cole, and she turns around from the turret controls for a moment, to answer. "Yeah, I'm doing fine so far. Though I'm wondering if it'd help if someone got out and pushed this thing. She adds with a snicker."

    Phillip turns his head around to Razor, "Man, I don't think I'll ever get used to jumping in smaller craft."

    Trey crawls, relatively speaking, onto Cole's five o'clock position and sucks in its chest, and its altitude, to sling beneath the craft, as well. Its pilot glances down the rear of his bomber, "How are the gimbals, Gambit? Smooth or creaky? I heard one of the 13th guys complain about a problem with a stuck gimbal that seems to get circulated around."

    Foster pauses a little bit as he hears that question, "So far, so good…" he replies, with a bit of a shrug. "Let's hope it's circulated to someone else for now?"

    The urge to look for the afterburner button on the Broadsword is great but there isn't one to be found so Razor and Iceblade lumber along at cruising speed with the rest of his flight. The speed is a lot slower than he is used to and from time to time a scowl would appear as he has to steer, not fly, but steer the bomber towards the direction they are supposed to go.

    After the jump, Kell is back to game faces as he quickly scans the sensors once they enter the destination system, «Understood, forming up as ordered.» Razor glances back briefly towards the rear gunner pod and says, "Get ready, Iceblade, we might get jumped at any moment." He then returns his attention to his sensors and visual spotting while they are flying.

    "Roger that," Iceblade says quickly to Razor before turning around and focusing intently on his own sensors, glancing up every few moments.

    Thankfully, it doesn't seem the fighters are going to be lumbering long. A little more than halfway to their destination, the fight seems to be coming to them, a trio of Confederation fighter craft locked in an odd sort of low-speed running combat with four Kilrathi. The sort that the Stiletto pilots in the group might well recognize as resulting from craft fighting at the very end of their range.

    « Looks like we found the party » Cole comments. « Good to see there are some still fighting. » he says to his wingmates, before attempting to contact the other fighters. « Confederation craft, you've got friendly assistance inbound. We'll come in as quick as we can, but anything you can do to bring the fight to us would be appreciated. »

    As they continue on their mission, Razor picks up a few blips on his sensors, both friendly and hostile, «Looks like we have action up ahead. The friendlies are almost out of juice.» He quickly looks down at his HUD, cycling through the different systems until he finds the weapon's one and looks at the armament on this bomber. "Get ready for some action, Iceblade. It's about to get hot." He arms the missiles on the Broadsword and finds one of the hostile Kilrathi before pushing the throttle up as far it goes, the speed picks up slightly.

    "Well at least if they're fighting still, it should make things a bit easier for us to finish off the cats. Hopefully." Kanani calls out over her shoulder towards Cole, as she makes a few last minute checks on the turret's systems before going into battle.

    Iceblade responds, "Roger Razor." As he looks as his own display adding in a joking manner, "OH and try not to go too fast, okay."

    Trey ho-boys at the situation beginning to unfold outside his cockpit window. "Gambit, this is gonna get a little tipsy." The entire craft seems to shudder a bit as he pulls the throttle all the way back. It's moving as fast as it can, staying in formation, and that's really not fast enough. One would expect a Scimitar pilot to understand, but clearly this one no likey. "What did you eat for lunch today?"

    Foster nods a little bit as he hears that, getting the guns ready. "Not much," comes the reply to the inquiry about the lunch. "Don't worry about that."

    It takes a moment, but a human face clicks onto the VDUs in response to Cole's words. The man's face is covered in a series of tattoos. « We will attempt to comply, though I suspect you are too late to save us ». The man explains simply, pausing for a moment, the image visibly jerking to one side as one of the Rapiers in the distance comes around hard to stitch a line of gunfire across a Sartha. Still, between the three Rapiers working towards their 'rescue' and the Broadswords continue lumbering along, the fight seems to be close at hand.

    « Lead to element. Break and attack » Cole orders simply, his own craft banking down and away from the formation, moving in to try and catch a Sartha pilot paying less attention than he ought to be. "This is about to get interesting…" he calls back to Kanani in warning.

    Phillip scans for a target and spots one sartha coming in range and begins firing at it.

    "Was just asking because I suspect you'll get to keep it. Hang on. We're in for some chop." Trey pulls the craft out of formation and steers towards one of the Kilrathi, doing his best to keep the ship relatively steady. To facilitate this, he switches to FoFs, popping the safety cap on his flight stick and firing one off indiscriminately. He hits the comms and his face shows up on the VDUs, « Keep your pants on. We're coming for you. » and then to the Captain, «Copy, sir. Dash Three is breaking formation. Gambit! Targets at bearing two one nine mark one four, three two niner mark eight six, zero zero four mark nine zero and zero nine six mark six two. Weapons free, man. Clearing the road.»

    Foster nods a little bit as he hears that, looking around for a few moments, before firing off at the closest available Sartha now. "Let's do it!" he offers.

    The Broadsword is going as fast as it could, but it is still very slow to Razor's standards. The bomber turned fighter finally reaches range and the fight is joined, the pilot steering the bomber into a dive at one of the Sarthas that is engaged with the Rapier that is in dire straits. He tries to activate the afterburners out of habit but finds it missing so he can only watch the klicks countdown as he gets into missile range. With that done, he fires off a missile, easier to do in the Broadsword since it isn't a Heat Seeker.

    Kanani rotates the turret around that she's currently occupying, keeping an eye out for a free shot at the cats. "Well, here we go, it looks like. Don't get us shot up, Voodoo." She adds, before one of the Sartha flies into her view, and she opens fire with the neutron guns.

    « Shit, I'm gettin' torn up out here! » A female voice calls from one of the Rapiers, as gunfire from a Sartha tears one of the fighter's laser cannon from its wing mount. Still, the Kilrathi seem to be getting the worse of the exchange for the moment… none of their fighters escape damage in the first pass, and one is shattered by combined gunfire.

    « Nice shooting… whoever that was » Cole's a little too caught up to pay attention to who's where, aside from the target he's struggling to keep in his sights. All he knows right now, is that the four red dots on his radar screen have suddenly been reduced to three.

    As the Sartha buzzes past one of the Rapiers, it misses all of its shots and takes a few nasty hits by the other Rapiers. Iceblade lines up on this Sartha and blasts it right across the nose causing it to explode in lovely ball of hot fur. «Yeah, this is Iceblade. Scratch one kitty.» Iceblade then quickly pans around looking for a second target.

    Kanani grumbles a bit after only doing a little bit of damage to her target's wing. She continues to track her gun along the Sartha's flight path, trying to maybe do some more substantial damage to the enemy fighter.

    Trey keeps it steady as she goes, flying directly into the fray and letting his gunner do most of the heavy lifting. The smart missile he launched billows smoke into the void, and then sharply turns towards one of the Kilrathi fighters. Though the craft attempts to outrun the thing, it just can't. To boot, the feline's gyrations cause it to entirely miss the pilot he was attempting to exterminate. The missile slams into his guns, tearing loose some of the cannons. «Hey, cat!» addresses Trey on the VDU to everyone, though clearly it's intended for his target, «Is it just me, or are you needing a litter box right about now?»

    When the first missile misses, Razor frowns as he continues on, arming the second missile now as he continues to chase or what he does his best as chasing as he keeps the Sartha in his sights while he launches another Friend or Foe Missile. This one streaking at the same Sartha that was able to evade the first one by inches, the scorch mark of the missile's rocket propellant on its wing.

    Foster keeps attempting to fire on the enemy craft he has in his sights at the moment, firing off another time. "Stop playing with them, just take them out?" he suggests a bit lightly to Trey. "Otherwise we could be singing 'What's New Pussycat' or something?"

    « We may survive this yet » The tattooed pilot calls over comms. Though he's quick to add a retraction of « Nevermind » as another four Sartha move into join the fighting, drawn to the battle by the calls of their now-mostly-dead companions.

    "Not sure what you're doing back there, but I just made one go away up here!" Cole calls back towards Kanani with a little laugh. "We've got more coming in, though" he adds, before his bombers wings around hard to meet the new wave of attackers head-on.

    Trey cracks, "I'll fire my fully auto-locking smart missiles a little more expertly just for you." The response is light, as well. Just a friendly jab. He fires off the other FoF missile, which latches onto the feline aggressor with gusto and blows it to pieces. "See? Just for you. Good shooting, by the way. Please be advised I'm out of mi-HOLY SHIT THIS THING HAS TORPEDOES." Yes Trey. It does. «I have explosives.» It's out of context, but he sounds so cheerful about things. "Well, I'm not firing a torpedo at a fighter, so it's moving target time." He pulls the flight stick back and begins to line up on an enemy fighter as smoothly as he can, peppering the space in front of himself with mass driver shot.

    Phillip eyes the three Sarthas going after one of the rapiers and begins firing on one of them, scoring on blunted hit. Damn, Iceblade mumbles. Just then the Sartha is taken out by an FF missile from one of the broadswords. Iceblade then scans for another target, but notices more enemies in-bound on his sensors. Ice comms, «Guys, more bogies in-bound.» Iceblade looks up and
    notices the remaining Sartha from the first flight coming for his broadsword
    and focuses on it.

    Kanani gives a bit of a snort, at her pilots comment, and calls over her shoulder. "Yeah, yeah. I keep hitting them, but they haven't decided to die yet." She states and then turns her turret to fire on one of the newer arrivals. "I see them, I see them." She adds as well, with a thin chuckle.

    Foster grins as he hears Trey. "Anyone ever claimed that you're insane?" he
    calls over, before he aims for one of those newly arrived enemies. Always the
    closest he can see.

    "Foster, you have no idea." replies Trey as the airframe thunders from the
    combined stress of the firing cannons.

    The second missile flies true and impacts into the Sartha, crumpling the wing but it seems like the damage is mostly superficial damage as the Sartha continues to fly on as if only lightly damaged. "What the fuck! Either these missiles are garbage or that Sartha is the luckiest kitty in the world on its ninth life." Gritting his teeth, he flicks his weapons to Mass Drivers since he is out, continuing to chase after the damaged Sartha as he calls out to his gunner, "More hostiles on sensors so you will have a target rich environment, Iceblade."

    The fight turns into a fresh mess with the arrival of the second wave of Kilrathi, neutron fire ripping into the armor of Draygo's broadsword, tearing a few nasty chunks away from it. The Kilrathi fighters don't escape cleanly either, flying headlong into a forest of weapons fire, shedding pieces of red durasteel from their hulls as the price of their attacks.

    Cole winces under his helmet at the sight of Razor's bomber staggered by weapons fire. « Razor, what's your status? » Cole asks, even as he continues to pick through the swirling melee in search of a target.

    Kanani frowns slightly as her latest shot goes wide of the newly arrived Sartha. She then notices the offending fighter moving on a course to attack the Broadsword she's in, and calls over her shoulder to Cole. "Heads up, Voodoo. We've got one of the cats on our tail." She then opens fire on the fighter again, trying to get it off of the bombers tail.

    The lumbering along, Razor didn't see the Sartha's coming in until it was a little too late, his mind focused on the Sartha that won't die. His Mass Driver cannons are accurate and the Kilrathi is still alive, while the Broadsword is pummeled by Neutron blasts from two different Kilrathi fighters, "Dammit, those things pack a punch. Was hoping the 'Swords armor was thicker but I guess this boat isn't invincible." When the status check is called out, Razor quickly responds, «Still okay, Lead. Just some big holes in the armor but we're doing alright, just a little more sluggish than usual now.»

    Trey Grayson swings his craft over as gently as he can, but when his target tries to evade him, that plan goes -completely- out the window. "I'm taking us up and over. Watch the friendlies." And he's not kidding. He rolls the craft, offering Foster a -beautiful- opportunity for fratricide as he presents Cole to him as a target right where there was a Kilrathi a moment ago. He squeezes the trigger and lightly peppers the Kilrathi with bullets.

    Thanks to the warning, Foster manages to hold back the guns long enough to send the rounds for some other enemy, instead of the friendlies. "Fancy flying," he offers.

    If nothing else, the 1087th are getting a good demonstration of the Rapier's durability… one of the Honour's fighters staggered by another pair of hits from the Sartha, but somehow remaining intact despite the punishment. Though by this point, intact might be charitable. Still, the craft is still flying… which is more than can be said for a pair of the Kilrathi fighters.

    "Handle it!" Voodoo yells back towards Tsunami at her warning about the approaching fighter, not about to break off his pass… and apparently for good reason, as his shots blow a wing off the Sartha he'd been attacking, sending it spinning harmlessly out of control into the infinite void of space.

    "Fancier shooting. Keep it up, then we all go home and get laid." Wow. Trey, through a mixture of trying to keep it steady and trying to hit his target, manages neither. What's worse is that one of the Kilrathi are coming after his craft. He jinks as much as he can, probably screwing Foster's shots to hell, but managing not to get hit himself. When Doomsday dispatches the bandit, Trey's face appears over the VDU. «Thanks. Looks like we're even.»

    Kanani unfortunately misses the Sartha she was shooting at, but it also missed and apparently decided to go after an already wounded ship. As another Sartha moves to take its place, she tracks her neutron guns to take care of this new threat. Hopefully more effectively than the last few shots.

    Foster frowns as the shots miss, but moves to retarget the same enemy, grimacing a bit in the process. Keeping silent for now.

    Sweeping the targeting reticule over the Sartha, Razor fires off another volley for the triple linked Mass Driver Cannons and watches as the lethal projectile shoots out at the lucky Kilrathi. Apparently the Kilrathi's luck continues as it eats the projectiles without damage except to the armor plating. Stifling a loud curse, the Lieutenant fires off another wild shot as he sees the Sartha breaking around to engage him along with a wingman,knowing this could hurt. "C'mon, stay together, Broadsword, I know we've had some rough times together. Iceblade, hang on, we have incoming!"

    As one Sartha learns the hard way why a Broadsword is just as tough a target from behind as it is in front, the others chew away further at the battered Broadsword, the ancient Kilrathi predator's instinct to bring down the weak member of the herd taking priority over any tactical sense.

    "Hang on, Kanani, this might get a little rough" Cole calls back towards his gunner, driving his broadsword straight in towards the Kilrathi fighter still attacking Draygo, finally toggling over to his missiles and stabbing at the firing control. « Razor, sit tight. Trying to clean this bastard off your
    tail » Trey, now aggressor free, is free to be easy on the stick, slowly banking towards his target and trying to pick one off of Draygo. He moves nice and easy, shots tearing through the catmobile's wings and sending smoke and fire about in its wake, though there is no boom. Not yet.

    The Broadsword is sluggish in general and the damage that Dash Two had taken made it even more sluggish. So what was supposed to be a elegant and sleek barrel roll that dances through the hail of Neutron fire, is replaced with a rather piggish roll on its axial that deviates slightly to the port and to the starboard. This manages to trick one of the Sarthas as the Neutron fire goes wide, but the incredibly lucky Sartha that Razor had been gunning for seems to be the Kilrathi God of Death.

    The Neutrons slam into the cockpit, rocking it and causing pretty nasty damage. The shrapnel inside flies all around and a few pieces pierce the helmet of the pilot, bloodying up the pilot and almost causing him to black out. Fighting it off, the battle adrenaline pumping through his bloodstream, Kell keeps the bomber flying and the only response through the Comm System is static. One of the HUD's is still active for now and he manages to cycle through it, reaching up to wipe away some of the blood to see, and then activating the auto-repair system.

    Foster keeps on firing at the remaining enemy that he sees, muttering quite a bit in the process.

    "Got one!" Kanani states as one of her shots strikes the tailing Sartha, and blows it to smithereens. "Got it. Hanging on." She calls towards the cockpit as the uberkitten decides to play with the undamaged Broadsword. Once she has a clear shot on it, she opens fire, hoping to do what nobody else seems to have been able to do so far, and blow the darn cat up.

    The last two Kilrathi fighters fly apart under a barrage of gunfire… through some miracle, not managing to inflict any further harm on the bomber wing, or the craft they came to rescue. « We survived. Surprising » Comes the comment from the tattooed pilot. « I suppose we'll live to die another day. This is Captain Etienne Montclair, by the way. Formerly of the TCS Honour. I take it by the fact they have not come back for us, they were destroyed? »

    "Cheerful fellow" Cole comments with a little chuckle, before he reaches down to key his comms again. « Captain Victor Cole, TCS Majestic. And negative, the Honour is damaged but still intact. She withdrew to Junction several hours ago. »

    Phillip has been fighting alongside scoring a hit but also misses several times. All of sudden, the 'sword takes some nasty hits towards the front, but holds together and Phillip keeps focused on taking out the offending Sarthas, but keeps misses his targets. Finally the remaining enemies are destroyed. "Thank god, you alright there Razor."

    Kanani gives a brief chuckle herself, as she scans the area around the Broadsword for any other cats in the area. "I imagine anyone would be a bit depressed after not being able to catch their carrier before it jumped out." She comments thoughtfully.

    Trey begins to circle around the Rapiers… for certain values of 'circle', at least. It's a Broadsword and isn't meant to circle things unless it's coming around for another pass just prior to blowing them into their constituent atoms. « Dash Two, Dash Three. You okay? Looks like you guys took a pounding. »

    With the last Kilrathi Sartha finally destroyed, Razor continues to fight the possibility of blacking out. He keeps the auto-repair running the best it could but it will take a miracle worker, aka a real mechanic to fix what Dash Two had went through. For now, there is no response to the comm directed at his ship, either it doesn't go through or the pilot is busy.

    Inside, Kell unstraps what is left of the safety harness of his seat and slowly gets up, "Iceblade… take over…" He manages to say though somewhat quieter as half of his vision is blurred by red, from the blood of his wounds. "Need… find… medkit." He stays to the side so that Phillip can pass and quickly take the controls of the bomber that is on linked autopilot with the flight leader right now.

    "I'd rather not have occasion to find out" Cole calls back towards Kanani. « So, good news is you've got a rescue here » Cole comments over the comms. « It's just us. No capital ship support, they're all with the Honour. So that's going to make our game plan to move back to the jump, where you three will eject. We'll recover you and then destroy the fighters. »

    "Heh, that makes two of us, I think. Being left behind with no way of jumping, doesn't sound fun." Kanani calls back, and then shakes her head as Cole relays the recovery plan to the Rapier pilots. "And if you thought he was cheery before, I bet that news is really going to brighten his day."

    « So we survive and still have to eject » Doomsday replies to Cole's latest round of information. « I knew this mission wasn't going to end well. Very well, Captain, we will follow you to the jump point. And hope the Kilrathi are not waiting there to destroy us. »

    "Damn, are you…are you going to be alright?" says Iceblade concerned as he looks at Razor's head while passing into the pilot seat. "Oh and the medkit is in this cabinet." Iceblade adds as he smacks the rightside above cabinet before sitting down. «Guys, Iceblade here. I'll be need to land this thing as Razor has got a nasty looking piece of metal sticking out of his head.» "Now Razor, you just relax there buddy and I'll take care of everything up here.»

    A hand comes up to wave off Phillip's concern, Kell can be heard muttering back, "Don't worry… had worse…" Whether he is telling the truth or not, Iceblade will probably not know but if he has had worse than that, it must've been messy. "Thanks." Is added as reaches up and opens the cabinet, grabbing the kit before bringing it to the back of the bomber, "Just… fly." He gets out before he sits down in the gunner pod and looks at the kit. The Lieutenant seems to be deciding if he should risk it by removing his helmet and trying to treat himself or just stay the way he is.

    "What can I say, I spread good cheer wherever I go" Cole replies with a little shake of his head. « Alright, let's form up and head back for the jump then. Dash two, you take the lead position. We'll keep to whatever pace you can manage »

    Trey continues to circle around. At Cole's word, he steers the craft into formation with Cole. « Cooopy. I'm on it. »

    «Lead, Iceblade. Roger, I think I can manage 200. Dang, I'm landing another busted up ship, at least I think the air frame is still strong. Ice out.» Iceblade then moves his craft towards the front of the group.

    « You'll find a 'sword was meant to take a pounding. » Voodoo replies to Iceblade. « I brought one back after flying it between two Fralthi once. Looked like someone had given a stuffed broadsword to a wolverine, but it still settled down on the deck just fine. They build these things to last »

    Phillip picks up one of the ejected pilots and making the jump. The Broadsword's make it back to the Majestic and start landing procedure.

    After landing, Phillip gets out of the Broadsword and spots Weiss. "Oh God," He mumbles.

    Weiss stands at the deepest end of the deck, looking down the flight corridor to the Broadswords as they arrive. His arms are crossed and a cigar is puffing between his lips and he is flanked and side by his crew, just waiting to get to work. He looks.. not angry. not HAPPY but not angry. Of all the birds his grey eyes narrow on one in particular.. 13bs-2. He snacks his lips around the cigar as if in thought and.. pulls out his clip board and makes a note or a checkmark.. saying nothing and tsking.

    Cole pops open the hatch to his broadsword, hopping down to the deck a moment later. Making sure to open the cargo section as well, to allow his 'guest' to depart. After all, he's quite sure the Rapier pilots don't want to stay cooped up in the back of a Broadsword for ages.

    Phillip slowly helps Razor down the ladder. Iceblade then hollers, "CAN WE GET A MEDIC HERE!!"

    After the heavily damaged Broadsword, designated Dash Two, Kell climbs out of the bomber after the gunner turned pilot gets out. He appreciates the assistance from Phillip before wincing as he says in a half mumble, "No shouting… please…" Seems like the pilot had chosen not to remove the helmet and try to treat himself but he did give himself a dose of some pain killer to numb it, so he doesn't pass out completely in case they were jumped.

    He had spent the rest of the mission with slightly dazed vision as he manned the rear turret of the Broadsword. When his feet finally touches the deck, Kell stumbles for a second as balance is a little off within him, but he rights himself with one hand on Phillip and the other on the disembarking ladder.

    Kanani waits until the guests onboard the Captain's broadsword are out, before sliding down through the hatch, and exiting it herself, and comments. "Man, I never realized just how slow these things were."

    what is she? Maid service? Raine and her bonsai seem to end up running laps these days. She's got a Corpsman, probably in training to observe, behind her. She explains what's going on to the fellow and moves towards the disembarking pilots. "What? You can just call for one-" Not like medics are bar hops or- whatever. She looks around, "We start with triage. Look for bleeding and make sure you count out anyone obviously dead and/or with no chance of survival.

    There's no sense wasting effort, even if it's sad and emotionally distressing," That's (not so) polite medical term for 'just about to find out what awaits on the other side should wait behind those we know have a chance'. She goes quiet towards Razor. "Are there any others injured?" The faithful Corpsman looks on.

    Weiss hears the cal go up for a medic, looking up from his board. He grumphs and motions for his men, as well, to start hitting the Broadswords in their designated teams. He joins the team for dash two, plucking his cane up and limping after them. "Ja, get ze /Dummkopf/ a medic, already. An for Gotts sake, keep ze bleeding to minimum! He is messing up cockpit even more." Yes, we see where HIS priorities are.

    Phillip helps Razor over to Raine and the other corpsman who he can't quite make the name of. Handing Raine over, he turns around to see Weiss giving a few instructions to various techs as Weiss walks to where Phillip is standing.

    Phillip mumbles "Oh God" as he remembers the horrible clean up job he is going to have to do now that he is out of medical and clearly fine.

    The injured pilot, Kell, manages to flash the German mechanic, Weiss a bloody grin since the pilot is one of those who usually brings in his fighters rather banged up and almost broken. "Sorry… about the mess… the 'Sword may be a little scratched." At least the young Lieutenant remains light-hearted about getting shot up, again. What has kept Kell from bleeding more or out is probably the tight but comfortable seal the helmet provides, though not a complete seal since some blood has seeped down over his face, making him look a lot more hurt than he might be, but it could be bad since.

    The Corpsman has the stretcher. Probably easier to carry. Raine says nothing about the cleanup. This is Weiss' domain, not hers. The Corpsman sets the stretcher down. She doesn't break the seal of the helmet just yet, and points out to the Corpsman, "Don't take anything out at the scene if you can help it.

    Painful as shrapnel or bullets are, sometimes they stop major bleedouts. Also, headwounds are hard to assess. There's lots of bitty blood vessels near the surface and sometimes you can't tell a hematoma right away," She explains, tapping her own head as an example. The pair will load poor Kell onto the stretcher. "Easy now. We'll have him cleaned and good as new. Is anyone else hurt?" The corpsman is boggling. He flashes a grin at Phillip though. "Hey, pay attention." Raine pouts at the poor Enlisted man.

    Cole takes a moment to step back away from his broadsword, eyes surveying the craft for a moment. Making sure that it didn't take any hits that somehow didn't register. He idly lobs his helmet with gloves inside back through the hatch, before turning to Kanani. "I've got an action report to write, but I need to see you in my office for a few minutes when you have the chance" Cole says to her simply, before turning to head for Raine and the battered pilot she's tending. "Hell of a job out there today, Razor. Think I'll even give you a free pass on the fact you bent one of my birds"

    Kanani watches the proceedings on the flight deck, as Raine starts to do the whole medical thing with Kell. She peers over at Cole and shrugs, "Yeah, alright. I'll drop in when I can." She states with a nod.

    Weiss limps up to Phillips and Draygo, snorting at the apology but.. "Vell.. a sorry pilot.. Who vould have thought?" he asks, shaking his head as he marks something down. "Hemdell! You lazy /Arschloch/! Get your team on Dash-B.. I vant to see how bad zee hull armour vas peirced. I am tired of zese flyboys coming back as swiss cheese!" He then looks to Draygo as he is set on the gurney and does something out of character for him. he rests his hand on the pilots shoulder and pats it. "Seen vorse, I guess. Just zurvive long enough to bring next one back in better shape. Okay?" He then looks to Phillip and narrows his eyes. "Vell? Help zem vith gurney! He ist your wing man, /Gott verdammt/." Apparently he is giving the Phillip an out to not have to clean the blood. This time. He looks over at Cole and raises a brow. "Your birds?" he asks, smuggly, crossing his arms. His eyes look over to Cole's fighter… and shrugs. "Not look /too/ bad.. so you can keep her. For now." Another check mark on his tablet.

    "Took… painkillers…" Kell manages to inform Raine as they load him onto the stretcher, most likely a good idea since the Lieutenant will most likely not make it to the Medical Bay successfully on his own two feet. "Regular dosage." Atleast the young pilot is by the book when it comes to stuff like this, instead of overdosing just because the kit had more. With that information given, he finally goes silent as he tries to relax, knowing he is in good hands. Kell does give Cole a thumbs up though, at the compliment given, though the words are only half registered right now as darkness is wavering on the edges of his vision. He is also able to give Weiss one more grin and a half nod before his eyes slowly closing.

    Raine hides a smile. It's more fun to see Weiss in his natural habitat doing his thing. "Alright," Raine nods, perhaps aware of the standard kit on a craft. "Well, sit tight for now. We'll carry you up," She promises. She finally lets herself smile at all the exchanges. "Thank you," She murmurs to the others. "Come on now." She will lead Kell and the Corpsman along so the Deckies and pilots can take care of business while poor Draygo gets duct taped back together. She looks to Phillip. "You can help with the gurney if you wish," Perhaps aware that some feel better at work.

    Phillip helps Razor onto the Gurney and over to the lift. Just then a crew chief comes over from the direction of a very messed up scimitar, the same Scimitar that Iceblade flew in nearly 6 hours ago. The crew chief informs Weiss that after hours of work on the scimitar there is nothing that can be done to restore her with the frame so weakened. Phillip barely hears a few additional words about certain parts still being good, but they don't really have time and the crew to tear it apart piece by piece.

    Cole can't help but give a little grin at Kell's response, before giving an amused shake of his head at Weiss. "Glad you approve…" he tells the technician, before he moves along towards the lift. Fleeing the aftermath of this little mess rather quickly, it seems.

    Weiss grunts as Cole passes, as if he completely agrees that yes, it is his right to approve. When he gets the info from one of his team chiefs who had been working on one of last night's Scimitars he growls and shoots Phillip a look that could melt transparisteel. But he holds his tongue, since really the Scimitars ARE going to be hauled away.. And he is warmed by the thought that while Phillip's bird is junk.. after the cleaning it will be the PRETTIEST piece of junk. "Maybe I should make him paint it pink.. tie bow around it.." he murmurs to himself, looking even MORE amused.

    Is it possible NOT to be eternally amused by the deckies and pilots? Raine and her carnivorous bonsai don't want to know. The Corpsman grunts as he hefts the other end of the gurney. "Alright, let's get moving," preferably before Weiss' disapproving Teutonic gaze melts Phillip and Raine has to get the wet vac. "I think you might have work down here," Raine notes to Phillip quietly. And off they go!

    Weiss finally sighs. "Nein. He has caused enough damage." he says to Raine. "So he can go. I not need MORE of a mess zen I have already."

    Phillip leaves with Raine and Razor.

    "Alright. Thanks, Weiss." She smiles at the deckie. She seems glad to see him up and at his job. Raine will lead the Corpsman, Phillip and their patient on out then.
     
  6. Iceblade

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    Charlie Foxtrot in Junction

    Port Launch Tubes
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2321 Hours 2658.135

    Part catapult and part airlock, the launch tubes of the Bengal-class allow for rapid deployment of its fighter wing. Eight tubes are set along the port side of the ship, virtually identical in construction. Each is kept closed to space by a heavy door at the far end of the tube, with the inside end porting a similar portal. The blue-green track of a tractor beam emitter is visible along the floor of the tube, used to fling a spacecraft within out into space. Set along the walls to both sides are narrow catwalks for maintenance or emergency usage.

    In the launchers sit several Rapiers, gleaming with a shine that only new fighters could know. The silence is quickly broken by the usual launch requests. Focusing inside one of the Rapiers, a pilot sits in a leather chair, relatively closed in by a set of consoles. The cockpit itself seems to have been quite clearly inspired by the earlier design of the Hornet. Large MFD screens are provided to each side, with the controls in small banks underneath. The radar display sits off center to the left, with the ship's damage indicator in a matching location on the right, providing the pilot a good view of his complete tactical situation without having to move his head. An indicator dangling down from the roof provides both fuel and weapons charge displays. Visibility is good to all sides, but the supporting struts seem thicker than in many confederation models.

    The only sound inside the launch tubes and the Rapier is the low hum of the Rapiers engines as the Rapiers sit waiting for launch procedures. The near silence is then suddenly broken as the pilot, Lt. Phillip "Iceblade" Bradford comms into Majestic launch control, "Control, this is Iceblade. Need clearance to launch."

    Soon heard from the speakers inside the cockpit is Tizona in the other Rapier, «Control, Tizona, request immediate launch clearance.» Seconds later a second comm is heard, this time from the Majestic. «Iceblade, Tizona. This is Majestic Control. You are cleared for launch. Good hunting.»

    Tizona's Rapier then seen shooting past as it launches from the Majestic only to be followed seconds later by Iceblade's own Rapier. As it shoots out, the young Lt. is seen being shoved back into his seat.

    Shortly after launching a third Rapier is ready for launch. Trey's voice is heard over the comm system, «Control, this is Sloppy, requesting clearance for immediate launch.» Immediately after is heard «Sloppy, this is Majestic Control. You are cleared for launch.»

    __

    Distant Space
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2324 Hours 2658.135

    Centrally located within the Humboldt quadrant, Troy system is a desirable piece of real estate for any number of reasons. Two mining bases are situated on small planetoids, with the system's one naturally habitable planet being the lush agricultural world of Helen. Five separate jump nodes lead from the system, which is notably clear of rocks or other space debris.

    As the Rapiers begin moving into formation, Iceblade comms, "Tiz, glad to see you. Been one hell of the morning," referring to the earlier rescue mission. Tizona gives a quick response, «Eh…glad to be seen?»

    «Butcher Lead to Butcher flight. Pip, here. Form up, and set course for Nav1.» Pip's crisp tones fill the flight's designated tac-net, and from within the confines of his new, unfamiliar cockpit, he begins to outline their mission. «Apologies for the lack of a proper briefing, but we've got to move quickly. TCS Michel Ney, and TCS Sir Francis Drake have made contact with a pair of Fralthi-class cruisers, and we're providing fighter cover.» His Rapier's engines flare, and Lady Jane Grey's speed increases to maximum cruise, correcting course for the coordinates that he has just transmitted to the Minuteman squadron. «We're faster than we used to be. Let's make use of it. Pigswords have been designated to follow-on, but we need to meet the Exeters -now-. All pilots report status.»»

    «One Zero Eight Seven Foxtrot Sigma Stroke Six reports green across the board.» Trey's ship zips across the void of space at speeds normally reserved for the suicidal or the insane. The jury is still out on Trey's status among them. «I've… never been in a ship with plastic on the seats before. Was I supposed to take that off?» He slips into formation, though not with his usual practiced grace. He overshoots. And then his correction overshoots, too. He is clearly not used to this. «I'm almost afraid to hit the afterburners.»

    «Lead, Tizona, copy that, setting course for Nav1.» Paz calls, shifting around in the unfamiliar cockpit of her new Rapier. "Damn….I gotta get Wiess to adjust the seat on this thing..I feel like I'm flying lying down." she grumbles.

    «Lead, Iceblade here. I'm in top form and feeling good. These new fighters feel great. Moving into position now.» Iceblade broadcasts as he pulls his
    fighter in formation with the other Rapiers overshooting by only a small margin compared to the others given Ice's past experience with the Hornet. He then looks down as his panels to complete a second diagnostic on each missile.

    «Lead, Kitten, All light green and falling in» His fighter hangs back to the rear guard position, keeping in formation with the others. «Tizona even from here that bird of yours has a rather nice ass.»

    «Careful, Kitten, I might just report you to Doc Raine.» Paz teases, then swears softly as an unintended prod on a thruster pedal pushes her ship out slightly off course. «God damn….touchy little buggers, these.»

    «Keep in mind…we've got pigswords en route, so it is fair to assume that the Kilrathi have their own bombers heading in. Neither Exeter reported contact with anything beyond Dralthi, though.» A slight adjustment is made, as the Major finds his craft is drifting a bit off-course…..«They sure as hell are, Tizona. All these bloody buttons, and gadgets…I feel like I''m trying to operate my nephew's music player.» He clearly misses the Scimitar's simplicity. «Let's keep track of our warheads, don't waste them all on things that can't scratch the caps.» A breath is taken, before the Englishman adds…«Iceblade? Uh…what the hell does that even mean, rook?»

    «PC Load Letter?» mutters Trey as he mentally grapples with his ship. «What the fuck does THAT mean?» He manages to stay in formation, though it's a loose one. «I know, right? This is totally screwed up. We can make ships like this now?» Anyone looking at the pilot himself will see him eyeing the dash as if it just told him who was buried in Grant's Tomb and it wasn't Grant. As usual, he's fine with diving into the meat grinder. It's the little things that get on his nerves.

    «Lead, Tizona, yeah, tell me about it.» Paz chuckles. «I feel like I'm flying a UFO or something. All of these shiny buttons and knobs, and so little idea what they all do.» she jokes.

    «Whatever, I'm green here Lead.» Seconds later Iceblade comms, «Dang, it's clear you guys have never flown in fighters that cruise faster than 400 before. Well at least not in the last few years.» Iceblade responds, having somewhat better control over the fighter's speed and controls due to previous experience in the hornet.

    Veritas is silent for a few moments, his plane starts dropping back even further, and then his rockets go out, only to kick back in suddenly and start catching up. «…the frak is wrong with this thing, where is the….oh there it is» There is a pause a moment and then his voice comes on like nothing is wrong. «Apparently the radio cut out is a little too close to your elbow. watch it.»

    «Heh-heh…» Paz chuckles. «Kitten, Tizona, copy that. Keep that in mind,
    Flight, important safety tip,» the young pilot chortles.

    «Well. Shit. Who called the rocket-jockeys? They are -our- kills.» A middle-aged fellow with shockingly red hair appears on the Rapiers' VDU screens. He's wearing the insignia of a Captain in the Terran Confederation Navy. «Just clean keep the kittens off our backs, and we'll shove our guns down their throats so hard that their mamma's will gag. Ney, out.» No introduction, nothing. But, the transmission from the TCS Michel Ney -does- seem to lay out who is in charge of this small capital ship detachment. And, the Ney's commander seems to live up to the bravado of her namesake, as the Exeter is in the process of closing with the enemy capitals, and already has begun to send out salvo after salvo of heavy anti-matter fire. The TCS Sir Francis Drake remains in formation with the Ney, but focuses its' attention on the second of the Fralthi-class ships.

    The Fralthi appear to be the same that were engaged by the Terran forces just days ago, and their starfighter detachments must be depleted, as only five Dralthi appear to have launched by the time that Butcher flight arrives. The medium fighters make no bones about intercepting the Rapiers, though…and energy signatures would indicate that at least a few more Kilrathi are apt to join from the decks of the light carriers.

    «Roger, Ney. Don't choke on your own ego, please.» A snort, and Pip switches back to his flight's tactical-net. «Tizona, Kitten is on your wing. Sloppy, show the new kid the ropes.» As usual, if they are an odd number, the Wing Commander has chosen to fly without someone watching his withered, liver-spotted old arse. «Keep your eyes peeled for interlopers, but until then….»> A low-thrum fills his cockpit as the old pilot hits the burners, and activates his full weapons battery…«<Tally-ho. Kill the blighters.»> His nimble fighter peels out of formation, and bears down on Dralthi-5, already spitting a mix of laser and neutron fire.

    «Lead, Tizona, copy that. Kitten, form up on me, I'll go for the lead Dralthi, try and smoke his partner.» Paz radios, switching over to her shiny new Image Recognition missiles and, predictably, jamming the throttles to the firewalls. «Let's see what our new toys can do!» she calls, pickling off her weapon as soon as it paints a lock.

    «Copy That Tizona» He then switches to an open mike «Dra'kil Natch soot» Which either means "come get some hot laser" or more likely "My pencil is big and yellow" in Kilrathi. His fighter forms up on Paz's wing and he begins a few evasive moves shaking his little booty at them.

    «Copy that. Hey, Ice… Bucket. Whatever we're calling you. We're flying this tight. On my wing, keep them off of me.» He streaks his craft directly into the fray and targets the craft that's on his tail. He's not flying like he usually does. This is just a mindfuck for the poor guy. «Anything comes on me, we toast it, then we play cavalry when the coast is clear.»

    Iceblade pulls to one side of Sloppy's Rapier and lines up on Sloppy's target. Iceblade readies a full blast of his guns right across through Dralthi's front, hoping to knock out its control systems. «Roger Sloppy, Ice out.»

    And, it would appear that the capital ship duel is relatively indecisive, early on. But, the fighter engagement is rather the opposite. Two of the Dralthi are erased quickly, with only one of the human fighters taking a scratch. But, the Dralthi are no longer alone. Clearing the decks of their light carriers, a pair of Krant-medium fighters, and what appears to be a Hhriss-heavy have entered the mix, quickly selecting targets and engaging. The Kilrathi have also decided to work as a team, with multiple fighters each selecting a single human pilot and engaging.

    «Piss. These guns are tops.» His full salvo of guns tear into the cockpit of his target, and manage to knock out the Dralthi's systems, sending the intact, but clearly dead fighter careening off through space. Pip's struck by a glancing burst of mass driver fire, but nothing that he can't handle, but still manages to call out…«Watch your arse, Tizona. Pair of Krants, intercepting.» He doesn't have a great angle to note the three Dralthi engaging Iceblade, now. His attention is focused on the Hhriss that is attempting to take up position on his six. «Eat it, bugger. Eat it, and -like- it.» A blast of laser and neutrons is spit toward the heavy fighter, as they turn, and burn…both trying to line up a kill shot.

    «What the fuck was that?» Trey, in awe of his own ship. «We pulverized them. Holy crap, I've been working too hard.» Trey banks the ship really really really hard. or at least he thinks he does…. but the craft -does- it, and Trey is forced to deal with the friendly visitor known as G-Forces. «Holy… Ice, great shot. We got them mad. I've got you.» He taps the afterburner and almost regrets it for the sheer speed this ship gives him in return. «Check six. Bogey bearing one nine one mark one seven niner, three seven clicks and closing. Two more on your nine and high three. Am engaging.»

    Iceblade blasts away with his guns taking a serious chunk of the on-coming Dralthi which is now unable to avoid complete destruction by Trey's IR missile. Iceblade comms cheerily, «Alright, we totally trashed that…Uh oh,» Iceblade then exclaims as a warning light comes on warning of shots being fired at him. Iceblade goes evasive pulling temporarily from Trey's wing and quickly launching a Fire and Forget missile as he comms, «Need a little help here, Sloopy.»

    Firewalling a Scimitar is kind of like lighting the burner on an antique CF-104 Starfighter, you push the throttles to the stops, toggle the burner, then light a Lucky Strike and take a sip of coffee as you wait for the thrust to kick in. In a Rapier, it's somewhat different. Paz squeaks as the ship surges hard enough to slam her heavily into her couch, the relative speed display blinking like a War Bonds drive hot line with the Swedish Bikini team on screen. Her shot strikes home, but doesn't kill her intended target, mindful of her supply of warheads, she switches to a weapon she's often longed for but never had - lasers! "Okay, bitch, eat hot death!" she grins, reveling in the feeling of power, but only for a moment. Because just when she's about to cream, her threat receivers go crazy as the two Krants barrel into the fray and make right for her. Immediately, she begins to juke her ship as wildly as she possibly can.

    Kitten shakes his three tails, flipping and turning the ship in a tight spin and leaving them in his dust as his Wing Leader takes out one of them. The other two break off, and as Paz draws after one of them he spots the two medium fighters closing on her, «Watch your six Tizona, you got bogeys.» He moves to engage one of them.

    -Finally-, the capital ship fight starts to have telling results, as anti-matter is flung through the void. It is a slow, nasty slug-fest, but one that the Terran vessels are far better equipped to handle. For the moment, things look very good for the humans. The Kilrathi starfighters abruptly appear to shift target focus, as if trying to keep the human pilots from remaining too comfortable with the status of the dogfight.

    «You did not just try to blow off my wing, you stupid bugger.» Someone's got their comm button depressed, and might not know it. «How fancy do you think I am, fucker. I didn't -ask- for a kiss on the first date.» Pip's Rapier continues to attempt to track down the heavy fighter that has decided to focus on Sloppy, now. Eyes are kept on the pair of starfighters after his own arse, but they are not directly engaged, for the moment. He's apparently trusting to his fast, nimble new lover. Err…ship. Over the radio, g-forces have his voice sounding ragged, as he continues to curse the enemy…until…«Shit, Kitten. You're….right…it is easy to trip the comms with your elbow. You heard nothing.» A full salvo is spat toward the Hhriss, as if to remind his pilots what will happen if they tell a soul.

    "Shit….shit…shit!" Paz grumbles as her shots bracket, but don't strike home as the two Krants do their best to blast her out of the sky. Fortunately, she's able to juke around them, not so much artfully as luckily, the new ship's maneuverability catching her off guard after so long flying Scimitars. So much, so, that she finds herself in a tumbling ass-over-tea kettle spiral. "Okay, fuck this!" Paz snarls, and gives a judicial prod to her starboard thruster pedal, then maxes out her throttle once more to try and finally kill that Dralthi. «Kitten, say your status, over?»

    Veritas tries to get a lock on one of the ones on his wingleader's tail but he can't seem to lock it down, he fires and the hits just bounce off the wing armor. «Frak this,» he switches to missiles, lining up on the target «Fox-3.»

    Trey sweeps his craft around, through the fight. With the first of Phillip's dance partners apparently gone to eat the flowers or whatever it is they do, he takes aim on the second of them, streaking gunfire everywhere. He breaks off his attack to take his own shadow on a chase, swinging his bird around the TCS Sir Francis, dodging around a gun turret, and then coming back towards the one on Phillip. He blinks when he squeezes the trigger, watching his gun power drain at an alarming rate. «This thing is insane. I'm actually lowering shield output to boost the guns, here. Icecube, watch the hard deck on these caps. I've got you covered, though. Good flying. Good flying.»

    Phillip successfully evades his attackers with most of his shields intact. Iceblade then cheerfully comms, «Hell yeah, can't hit me you fools.» Iceblade then comments, «You know I am beginning to wonder why I left the Hornet for the Scim….oh wait, it was for the better armor and shields.» Iceblade then pulls around noting that his FoF missed its mark, so he switches back to full guns and scans for a target. He quickly notices, however, that the Hhriss is now gunning for Sloppy, so he switches to an IR. «Coming at ya kitty,» Iceblade comms as he closes on heavy fighter, staying on target for lock while dodging the incoming fire from one of the Dralthis.

    Numerous sensor contacts appear, coming from opposite directions. Shit just got real, as they say. «Attention friendly. Rhinos are -incoming-. Give us a target, Pip. We'll kill her for ya.» The throaty, laid back voice of the 332nd's CO, Captain Peterson fills their comms, just in time for the Michel Ney's CO to break into the conversation. «Ney, here. We've got Griks on scopes. Wouldn't mind an intercept on them, before they're close enough to launch.»

    «Quite a party we're throwing. Tizona, Grikaths are yours. Sloppy, help protect the 332nd.» Pip's own starfighter heels over, and dives after the Hhriss that has taken so much of his attention, attempting to kill it before it can level the Broadsword that it seems to have taken a liking to. This time, an IR missile is released after the bastard, since full guns seem to be pinging off.

    «Lead, Tizona, copy that, Kitten form up and we'll see if we can take out that bomber in one go,» she radios eagerly.

    Kitten falls in with his Wing Leader, «Copy that, lets stop these guys before they do any real damage.» He smiles to himself and switches to Kilrathi «Here Kitty Kitty got something for your litter box.»

    «Consider it done, man.» Trey swoops in like a bird of prey, dropping in on
    one of the lighter birds and letting go with a FoF missile. His path takes him directly into the line of fire between the four fighting capships, though with the cannons firing on one another, his Rapier is just a tiny blip. A surface nuisance. Still, a few shots come awfully close. One comes close enough to make his shields glow blue.

    Iceblade hear the locks and fires, but too late as a Krant blasts away his front shields. Iceblade quickly dodges further shots and soon meets fire from the pursuing Dralthi, which partially damages his weapons. «Damn you filthy Kats,» Iceblade curses over the comm as he turns to put his rear shields between him and the Dralthi to avoid further damage. Iceblade is starting to really feel the effects of the G-forces as he begins to pull tighter turns then he thought a fighter capable of. Iceblade comes right around locking his last IR missile on the Hhriss heavy fighter to finish her off.

    Less than ten seconds ago, everything was well in hand for the Confederation. But, things change. TCS Michel Ney lived up to its namesake, pressing the charge when it was not terribly prudent. Under the combined fire of the lighter Fralthi's weaponry, the Exeter-class begins to show signs of wear. Hull plating buckles, phase shields drop entirely over large portions of the ship, until a particularly well-placed salvo tears the spine out of the human destroyer. The Ney begins to break in half, inertia carrying debris, escape pods, and flotsam in various directions, whilst the battle rages around the wreckage.

    Suddenly outnumbered, and with Grikaths bearing down, TCS Sir Francis Drake is in a very tightspot. And, its Captain appears on the VDU…«Please forgive the disdain shown for you by my deceased partner. Drake would appreciate all of the assistance that you can provide, pilots. We've got some Kilrathi to vanquish.» His own accent is terribly proper English, much like the Major, when he isn't swearing up a storm. Drake continues to pound the lead Fralthi. The second Fralthi is apparently asked with assisting in fighter cover, and switches from AM batteries to its flak cannons, and shrapnel packed shells begin to explode in the vicinity of the Broadswords, and their escorts.

    «Nice shooting, Ic…» In the midst of congratulating the rookie pilot on helping to eliminate the heavy fighter…a large warhead slams directly into Pip's forward shields, and collapses them, bucking the front mandible of the Rapier, and sending his starfighter turning end over end in an uncontrolled spin. «<F…..ttak….2nd….thi.»> Some sort of order is transmitted, but Jenthson's radio clearly boned, as he fights to regain control of his now evasive fighter. A friend or fire missile is dropped off toward a crippled Dralthi, but that is all the contribution the almost-destroyed Lady Jane Grey can make. «<Wie….kil….me….»>

    «Drake, Tizona, get out of there!» Paz radios frantically as the tactical situation goes to absolute hell. «You've got two, repeat zero two Grikath's right on your flanks. Make best speed for clear space,» she advices, taking her own advice as the wave of debris approaches her, causing her to dive, fuzzing up her firing solution on the lead Grikath. "Heeere kitty, kitty…" she murmurs to herself, slowly starting to nudge her all but out of control fighter back into her hands as she lines up for another shot.

    Veritas locks onto the Bomber in his path, he toggles his missile and fires as soon as he has a lock tone. He then pulls to the side, quickly just in time to miss a large block of the Ney's armor that goes hurtling past him «Tizona, Kitten, looks like the odds jest changed and not in a good way.»

    Trey's position in the battle provides him with a beautiful view of the sinking of the Michel Ney. Even as his missile smacks into the Krant and engulfs it in a ball of bloody kitty pulp, he's already speeding forth, looking for the next one. «Son of.. a fuck!». As the second Fralthi's turrets open up, Trey does basically nothing, just trying to get Blackbird a clear shot. «Icecube, doubletime it on these things. Those bombers need a cat-free view if they're going to get us some even odds, again.»

    Iceblade hears the lock and fires watching as both his and the Major's IR missiles collide with the Hhriss. «Score!» Iceblade chimes as he burns past the flaming ball formerly known as Hhriss. Iceblade notices a few flare-ups on his shields and looks up to see a Dralthi launch a dumbfire at him. Iceblade deftly rolls out of the missile's way and burns past the Dralthi, quickly turning around on it with a smile as he switches to full guns and tails the pancake preparing to get a solid shot in. «Hey Kat, I like my pancakes with butter,» Iceblade taunts as he empties his gun pool on the craft.

    Paz's words fall on deaf, and soon to be dead ears. A torpedo from the second Grikath tears into the shields over the Drake's already weakened engines, and the shot proves to be a perfect one for the Kilrathi. A chain reaction leads to a blinding explosion, as reactors go critical across the Exeter-class destroyer, with most of Ney's escape pods caught in the terrible blast, and those not destroyed outright, are dosed with quite possibly lethal levels of radiation.

    The battle is lost, now. Blackbird, one of the young pilots of the 332nd Rhinos is lost, as her gunnery crew….and that leaves Captain Peterson to try and cripple the Fralthi so that the there can be -survivors- of what could be described as a massacre, kindly. Nothing but a muted hiss of static is transmitted from Major Jenthson's crippled bird, as it has taken further damage in the flak cloud surrounding the Fralthi. Lady Jane Grey's engines appear to be locked into the on-position, and controls seem to be inoperable as the starfighter burns in a straight line, regardless of the empty space before it. Only the IFF remains transmitting, indicating the ship's power isn't completely lost.

    «Butcher Flight, hell, all friendlies, Tizona, am assuming command.» Paz squawks. «Break contact and bingo for the Majestic! repeat, break contact! We've lost enough for one day. Sloopy, round 'em up and get them out! » she orders. «I'm chasing down our two pods. Send for immediate backup and SAR assets, advise them this is a hot combat zone.»

    «Yeah. OK.» Trey Grayson, calm even when everything's turned to shit. Hey, it's easy to relax when you figure your chances of coming out of this alive are zip to begin with. «Ice, what's your status?» Trey looks around his cockpit, trying to get a visual on the situation. «If you can hear me, give me a status report. Skole, Sloppy. Be advised to alert fighters bearing to you two one niner mark six six. Hard ack ack ring of two five zero clicks outside of Fralthi-2. Tizona, I'm on you. Watch your tail.»

    Iceblade's blasts hit, but unfortunately a quick turn to the left by the Dralthi throws Ice off guard, so not all of his shots hit. Iceblade quickly comes about only be hit right in the cockpit by the Dralthi with a dumbfire causing serious shrapnel damage to his left side especially his chest which has pierced all over with pieces of glass. Only the emergency forcefield is protecting Phillip now from certain death. "AAAGGGHHHH…" Iceblade screams as he begins attempting to evade now having difficulty in flying with such serious injuries. «Guys, this is Ice. I've taken a serious hit here. SHHIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!!!! GOing to EVADeee as best as I can. Ice, out.» Iceblade gives the Dralthi the finger and an FoF as a final send off before pulling away toward Trey.

    «Copy Tizona, I got your wing covered on that pod search.» Veritas falls in on Paz's wing, he launches his last missile at the last bomber almost as an act of defiance.

    Skole's able to avoid most of the flak that is sent his way, as well as the fighters that are on his six…he uses the dead, and spinning hull of the lead Fralthi to shield his initial approach, before throwing his PigSword down the throat of the remaining capital ship, and it works, to a degree. His torpedo impacts the Fralthi, and appears to do -some- damage to the enemy vessel. «Good luck, Tizona. Sloppy. I'll join once I've sent these fuckers down home to the farm.» The Captain is known as a cocky sort, and one that doesn't run from a fight while his bay still has torpedoes.

    Iceblade starts juking and burning away as quick as he can. «Roger, Tizona, Sloppy. I'm aaahhhh…pulling out.» After a little distance, Iceblade is writhing in serious pain and starts to search for the med kit to get some relief. After finding the kit, he quickly injects himself with some pain killer hoping to dull the pain with non-sleep-inducing stuff.

    Trey chases one of the Paz's unwelcome visitors, squeezing the trigger in short staccato bursts that mostly hit stars before they're likely to hit anything else. «Tizona, watch the hard deck. That Fralthi's AA ring's getting bigger. Tracking two bogeys inbound on you, one bearing two five two mark…» He squeezes the trigger again, aggressively lighting the afterburners in what is possibly a heroic move, but mostly just plain stupid. With his guns taking out the shields, he plows ahead, destroying his own shields in the process, but literally flying -through- the Dralthi in the process. Alarms sound all over his ship, and then the flak guns find him, tearing off chunks of armor and other things that are likely far more useful. «Go. Go. Why are you still here?»

    «Iceblade, _get out of here_.» Paz radios, her tone brooking no argument «The rest of you, if you feel crazy enough, stick around and get the hell out of the flak ring!» she calls, grunting audibly as she toggles full reverse on the thruster pedals.

    Kitten doesn't even reply, but he stays on his wingleaders tail, following her in the jinks, as one of the Dralthi drops in between them trying to line up on Paz he switches to his guns, pulling the trigger and lighting up the enemy fighter. «I'm getting some smoke in the cockpit off my weapon system I think something might be shorting out.»

    Once out of the battle, Iceblade quickly sets to transmitter to the Majestic's frequency sending a long distance, tight-beam, burst communication. «Majestic, this is Iceblade. Wounded are coming in. Commander Jenthson's comm is out and I think he has lost control of his fighter, which is heavily damaged. His injuries are unknown. He will get to you first. I have serious shrapnel wounds..aaahhh..in the chest. Please have medics standing by. Assistance is required at the battlezone. Both destroyers are out and much of their crew is at the mercy of the Fralthi's guns. Request SAR immediately. Ice out.»

    «All Friendlies, Tizona, RTB, repeat RTB!» Tizona sighs realizing that this fight is long past the winnable point. Pip's fighter continues to streak towards the fuzzy edge of the sensors, but it appears to be under some nominal form of control. «Let's get out of here while the getting is good.» she calls.

    «Copy. Copy. Tiz, I'm up your ass. Don't twitch.» Trey's shields flicker as they struggle to come back to life, but it's just not happening. He puts everything to the rear. «Full power to aft shields. Skole, we're bugging out. As much as I think you're as scary an individual as I've met… in the military, I mean, and I have no doubt you could probably kill that ship on your own, I'd rather get a free demonstration some time when I don't think the rest of us are going to die.»

    «Well. Shit. I do believe that I'm fucked, good buddies. Please do be tellin' my wife that I love her.» His Broadsword crippled, barely able to outrun the Fralthi, Skole's hauled his behemoth of a bomber around, to make a final pass on the destroyer, dropping off a torpedo at the minimum arming distance for the warhead, and then riding in its wake, as if willing it to make some sort of meaningful impact on the enemy vessel. The enemy starfighters appear to be focused on seeing the Confed fighters on their way, but are unlikely to overpursue.

    Tizona sends a comm to the Majestic, «Majestic, Tizona, Pip's on a CBIR, repeat CBIR at my bearing two five one mark one five six. Extremely hot contact zone, multiple enemy fighters, repeat, multiple enemy fighters. Recommend you extract his trajectory and send a 'Sword to pick him up further down the line. Iceblade and Skole are hit bad, med teams on deck."

    The Majestic sends a response, «Confirmed, Oscar Flight. We have been advised of your status. Fast movers are inbound.»

    Kitten sees the others break off and he swears a little under his breath, but he isn't an idiot, and he sticks with his wingleader, letting the fighter he was locking in on go. As he hears Skole he says something softly that can only barely be heard through the comms if you listen close to the fuzz «Go with god Warrior to Valhalla. May your name be always remembered, may your honor be never forgot. Do not go alone, do not fear do not hesitate. Know that while you wait in paradise, they are going some place hot.»

    «Vaya con Dios, Skole.» Paz sighs….

    While the Minutemen make their escape, the Commanding Officer of the 332nd Rhinos, 27th Carrier Air Wing, impacts the phase shields of a Fralthi-class cruiser, and shatters….doing no damage with his sacrifice…but allowing for his comrades to escape. This has not been a good day for the Terran Confederation Space Forces, and a much -worse- day for the Terran Confederation Navy. Hundreds of swabbies are dead, with what few remaining alive, dosed with radiation and in the process of being captured, and sent to slave camps. Shit happens.

    As the other fighters leave the scene, Iceblade comms to them. «How are you guys doing?»

    Paz prays silently for the dead and dying they leave behind as she nurses her annoyingly hyper-responsive new fighter back on beam with the Majestic's co-ordinates. «Five by five, Ice..» she replies sadly. «Butcher flight,» she calls, irony thick in her voice. «Let's go home.»

    Trey is missing a thruster. Just one. It flickers and sputters until the pilot can figure out how to turn it off which means… it flickers and sputters for the entire flight home, because there's no way he's figuring this out. He's pretty silent on the flight back, maintaining formation with Paz in front, as if for a show of force. «Hundreds of people just died, a bunch are probably going to get eaten by eight foot tall space cats.» Trey sounds tired and strained. «I'm awesome, Ice. Just awesome.»

    Kitten doesn't answer at all, not a sound comes from the normally wise cracking pilots cockpit. He stay on Paz's tail making sure everyone else get home, before coming in last for a landing. His ship relatively unharmed.

    As they return back to the Majestic, Tizona comms, «Majestic, Butcher Lead…Requesting a vector for the Initial Point. We have two seriously damaged craft in our flight, request you expedite their recovery.»

    A little alarmed by his injuries, Iceblade comms, «Majestic this is Ice, aaahhhhaha….shit I'm starting to really bleed here. Clear me to land.»

    Majestic Control's responds, «Majestic Flight Control. Butcher Four, hold at VOR for retrieval. Butcher Lead, the rest of your flight is cleared for approach on runway slots bravo, delta, and gamma.»

    Iceblade quickly replies, «Majestic, request Rapier be tractored in, damage mostly to cockpit.» Majestic responds with «Butcher Four, you are ordered to hold at VOR for retrieval. Do not deviate from this course. Please confirm.» Iceblade confirms and grits his teeth hoping for a quick retrieval.

    Tizona comms in, "Copy that, Majestic, Butcher Flight holding for Four's
    retrieval."

    __

    Recovery Deck
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 0336 Hours 2658.136

    Set behind the flight deck, the recovery deck is a single cavernous
    space dedicated to the processing and repair of damaged fighter craft. A
    network of taxi lines crosses the decking here, directing across the deck to a
    pair of assessment stations, then further to the series of repair hangars, or
    on to the elevators to the ready line below. The repair hangars occupy both
    sides of the deck, open facings showing spacecraft in a variety of stages of
    repair. At the fore end, the deck is open to space with a shimmering blue
    barrier of energy serving to keep the atmosphere in and the vacuum out.
    Retracted down into the floor is a heavy bay door to seal the deck in the even
    power to the containment field is lost.

    As the other craft land, both Jenthson's and Iceblade's Rapiers are brought in along with their pilots. Phillip is carefully helped out of the craft and immediately placed on a gurney. Phillip looks up at his comrades through blurred vision. He begins to raise he hand to wave, but it immediately falls. Phillip is totally unconscious and will likely be touch and go for the next hour.
     
  7. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    All Happening in the Med Bay

    Medical Bay
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1554 Hours 2658.136

    The medical bay is a quiet clean and sterile place, row and rows of bed have been made up to house those who are sick or injured. Sickbay is always active with doctors and nurses and thoes coming to see the convalescents. Monitors are set by the beds, either dormant or displaying the vitals of those in the beds below. Set into one wall are a handful of small offices, for use by the various officers and crew who work here.

    Phillip is lying on a bed in the medical bay. His left foot and arm are bandaged and most of his body is lying under the covers. What can be seen of his chest is a lot of white gauze that was freshly applied that morning. Iceblade is sitting up as best as he can with a datapad in his hand. Low volume sounds of combat can be heard from the pad as Phillip is looking down at it observing a few scenes from the battle the night before. A quick tear is seen now on his face, which he quickly swipes away. He turns his head up to make sure no one saw. He spots a few new arrivals to the room, though.

    Veritas enters the Medbay and smiles at Iceblade, "Hey Frosty, how you doin?" He grins and wanders over to the bed; though, he does take a moment to look to see if any medical personnel are around…no special reason…nope.

    Poor Phillip. At least the doctors here are diligent. Raine is among them. She has her bonsai under her arm as she makes her rounds. She pauses, and glances around. "Another pilot, huh?" She tilts her head as she peeks into Phil's room. "Iceblade correct?" And a smile, seeing Veritas. It seems Raine moves quietly when she wants to.

    Tori has let Veritas get a bit ahead of her; though, the two walked together from the barracks over to medbay. As she enters, she glances around to see who is awake rather than checking for any particular personnel working. And then, her attention is caught by Veritas already finding Iceblade, she heads that way too. "Evening," is all she says by way of greeting to the group. "If you are even thinking of saluting, Iceblade, don't." That had a hint of steel in it, an order given, if only just in case. Her voice softens though, as she says, "Rough welcome to the Majestic, hmm?"

    Phillip sees Veritas first and grins at him as he puts down the datapad with the battle scene there already paused. "Hey…Kitten," Phillip chuckles. "You know one day you are going to have to tell how you got that callsign." Phillip turns his head to see Raine and nods, "Good to see you, just wish under better circumstances." Phillip then notices Tori, the squadron CO, whom Iceblade hasn't really met yet and has only seen her at the usual squadron patrol briefings. His right arm begins to raise to give a salute but it quickly extends to shake Tori's hand instead. "Yes, ma'am. It has been one hell of welcome. I'm not even here a week and I'm already seriously injured."

    Veritas grins as he matches Raines smile then literally bounces over to Ice's bed, "So what you watching?" He chuckles softly, "It really isn't that good of a story."

    Raine smiles at Veritas. "Hello there," There's a warmth to her voice. She seems happy to see him. She looks to Phillip. "I know. I'm glad to see you guys but not when I'm on the job," She nods. She looks over to Tori too. "Hello there. And what did you do this time?" Raine furrows her brows and picks up Phillip's chart. "At least you'll have good company." She notices the visitors. She sets her bonsai down. She seems quietly happy, although she needs a moment of not speaking. Her eyebrows lift. "I see. Well. It looks like someone operated on you, so we'll be keeping an eye on you as you heal. You'll probably be out in a week or two depending," She offers quietly.

    Tori's eyes glance over at Veritas as he bounces over - alrighty then. She moves over, reaching out to shake Phillip's hand, deciding that's a reasonable alternative. Her gaze quietly moves from Raine to Veritas, but she doesn't comment. "Doc. I'm in the clear this time. Just visiting." For once. Though that's likely only because she wasn't out flying the new rapiers or she'd be in medbay in her own personal bunk. She then quiets down as Raine speaks to the patient, taking a moment to glance around and not seeming nervous at all, even if she is in a pilot's least favourite spot in the world. "A week? Oh, you've missed the record by far then. That just about makes you an old-timer." She pauses, letting the joke sink in a bit. "If you do need or want to talk about it, my door's open."

    Phillip nods at the Tori and Raine, but then turns somewhat somber as he looks down at the pad. "I was just going back through how that Dralthi managed to blast me with..*exhale*..a dumbfire of all weapons." Phillip then looks up to Tori and brings his hands up to demonstrate Iceblade's best guess of the dogfight. "I was tailing this Kat pretty good and began emptying my guns right into it." Iceblade has his right hand in the same plane as the left and behind it. "Its shields crashed with the first burst, but the second…." Phillip sighs. "Now I was ready for this Dralthi to pull up or down." As he says this, he turns his head to his left hand, which bends up and down. Iceblade then adds looking at Tori, "In fact, I was hoping for it as my guns would have blasted that Kat right through the cockpit." Iceblade looks back at his hands, stating in low voice, "But no, this was no ordinary pilot. This Kat pulled his fighter to the left." Iceblade's left hand veers left as he looks back at the group saying in an exasperated voice. "I was completely taken off guard by such a move. Most all Dralthi just don't turn left or right." Iceblade looks over at his hands and gestures the next few moves. "I had flown straight as a result, so I quickly turned left to come back onto that Kat and that was when he got me." Both hands were now faced on their sides with his right veering towards the left and the left pointed at the right hand at about the point where the cockpit might be. "He shot a dumbfire right at him and using his greater maneuverability, avoided a collision with my ship." Phillip then sighs before he finishes. "And either by luck or by skill, that Kat smashed me right in the cockpit where the missile totally destroyed the canopy. If it weren't for my seat belt and the emergency atmosphere shield, I would be sucking vacuum right now." Iceblade lets his hands down, but doesn't look back up. Fear is evident in his eyes even though he is trying to obscure the emotion.

    Veritas settles in to a nearby chair and listens intently to the story. Shaking his head, He smiles and looks over at the Squadron leader.

    Raine smiles at Veri again and looks to Tori and nods. "I see. Well, that's good. I hate to see you guys in here. Always like birds in cages," Raine considers. Pilots like to fly~ She tilts her head. "He could be out sooner if he heals well, but…" A shrug. "I like to be safe." No sense sending out a hurt pilot to suck vacuum right? She settles in to listen to Phillip quietly. Her hazel eyes peer at him. "That's quite a story. But I am glad you made it okay," she nods. She then gently pats his shoulder, "The bonsais are too." Sad trees! "How do you feel now? Do you want anything to drink?"

    Tori settles into a seat, listening as the poor new guy goes through what happened, working through it and explaining. "Dumbfires - have their moments. Though I prefer when it's our dumbfires hitting the Kats, admittedly," she says first. Veritas gets a smile. "How about you, Kitten?" And then to Raine, Tori chuckles, gesturing briefly. "All in one piece, Doc. Honest. I wasn't out on the mission this time, so no excuse to be hurt in any case." Sometimes it's good to have reserves back at base (so to speak) in case they are needed. She takes a breath, wrinkles her nose briefly and then says, "There are some Kats that seem to be - I don't know - brighter? better trained? Less predictable for sure, than the others. Every once in a while we run into one of 'em. If we're lucky, it's only one." A half shrug, and then Tori continues, "It's tough, that's sure. As close to god as one can get, I expect, without actually getting there. But make sure you heal up first, the doc will take good care of you, and then we'll get you back up in the black. There's still nothing like it." And yes, she's been pretty badly hurt a time or two. (though no missile to the head, that she can't top.)

    Phillip tilts his head up towards Raine as she talks to her bonsais and little grin and chuckle crosses Phillip's mouth. Not so much at the oddity of it, but more at the complete innocence with which Raine behaves. "You know it's amazing how can anything like that *indicating Raine* can survive a war like this?" Iceblade whispers to nobody in particular. Phillip quickly adds to clarify, "her innocence." Phillip then turns his head towards the squadron CO feeling a bit better and nods with an expression that is less grim but still somber.

    Veritas eyes narrow a moment, but he doesn't break his smile. He then looks up at Raine and waves again for no apparent reason. He looks over at Tori, "How 'bout me what?" He grins "I'm good, took a little paint scratch but that's it.

    Alas, the HE missile to the head probably will always win the sick bay storytime. She smiles at them. "It's true, we do our best here. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad… I miss Wallace a lot," She abruptly looks a lot less happy. The NCO must've been a dear friend. She shakes her head trying to shake it off. "What do you mean? Surprised I haven't been eaten by a passing space bear or Kat?" She jokes lightly. She's trying to shake off the brief tinge of sadness. "I'm sure the deck chief will have you make up for that scratch too. He's been going at it really hard. I guess I'm happy he's enthusiastic about it," Raine looks thoughtfully.

    Tori flashes a grin at Phillip, and half shrugs. "Our doc is the best," she says, letting him get his own foot out of his mouth, or whatever it takes. "And Raine, that's a good thing. Saves us out there too, if our equipment is in good shape." Of course. "I meant about the dumbfires, but glad you're not hurt, Kitten," she adds softly, eyes twinkling as her lips curve in a smile. And then she says, with a straight face, "Well, the space bears are probably just waiting for us to move in on their turf, after all. And then they'll be attacking more than the pirates and the Kats."

    Phillip looks over at Raine and Kitten, "huh? Oh I was just referring to the way you are with plants. To be able to be nurturing so sweetly in this mess is just astonishing to me." "Then again," Phillip adds, "I imagine plants aren't as mean as some humans tend to be." Phillip then grins before turning his head towards Tori with his eyebrows askew, "Space bears?"

    Veritas nods, "Yeah Space Bears, Nine foot tall Teddy Bears with machine guns, I hear the Kats are considering using them as Marines now."

    It's a light jab at herself really. Raine should be a victim of natural selection any day now. She smiles and blushes. "You're too kind, but lots of folks like Corpsmen and nurses are hard at work here too." Nod. She is quiet at the talk of dumbfires. Not much knowledge on her part there. Although she blinks at Phillip. "Well… I like them. There are kind people on this ship, just most of them might be a bit busy to show off their plants too." She smiles. She seems to think of her bonsais as much a part of her state of being as anything else. She nods. "Space bears. They eat those of us who are slower than the others." Grin. She seems amused as Tori and Veritas pick up the joke.

    "Just gotta be faster than the next guy," Tori says, amusement colouring her voice as well as her expression. "Which right now means poor Iceman could be in trouble. Not very fast on his feet, I'll bet. Looks like the rest of us are safe this week." Hah. After a moment, Tori gets to her feet, frowning slightly. "Don't worry, Iceman. You're in good hands here, promise. I'll try to get back to visit and chat some more, but right now, I do have work calling my name. And I'd hate to have the Winco lob me out as bearbait." She nods her head, taking a step back and then pausing for any last comments before she heads out.

    Phillip then nods at Kitten and Raine as if understanding completely. "Oh yes, those bears. Well we have Space Birds, so why shouldn't the Kats use space bears." Phillip adds nodding, "Yeah, that makes perfects sense." Iceblade then looks flat on at the group with a smile clearly in better spirits then an half-an-hour ago. Looking up Tori as she stands, Iceblade nods, "Well it was great talking with you. Oh and when Paz gets off her current patrol, could he let her know to come by. I mean, I am actually conscious now." Iceblade smiles but gives a little groan as he moves forward a bit.

    Veritas smiles softly and shakes his head, "They are half cybernetic, laser beams attached to the sides of their heads. But I understand that they have a weakness for honey, coating yourself in it makes you invisible to their radar.

    "Oh my," Raine grins. She seems amused. "Be well then," She waves to Victoria. "And no, that'd be bad. It was good to see you," She nods. She looks to Phillip. She smiles. "See, you've got lots of good wingmates here." She seems pleased the pilots are getting along. "Nothing too sore then?" She tilts her head as Phillip doesn't seem to have any specific complaints. Veritas gets a smile in turn as well.

    Phillip waves his hand in the negative at Raine. "No I'm fine, just felt a few thousand sharp needles prick me all over my chest for a second." Iceblade then considers, although I could use a little more of that non-drowsy pain meds you've got. I think the stuff from earlier is starting to wear off." Iceblade then turns his head to Veri, "So what were your impressions of the Rapier?"

    Veritas smiles, "It was a bit jumpy but I think I can get used to it, gonna miss the Scimitar armor though." He grins at Raine "You know we need to run more anti-space bear drills, practice coating the medical staff in honey, since they are non combatants."

    Phillip nods at Veri's comment. "Yeah," Iceblade replies as he prepares to give his impressions, but his thoughts are immediately distracted by Veri's other comment. Iceblade notices the cute female nurse over in the corner and imagines her bathed in honey. A silly grin appears over Iceblade's face.

    "Kell seemed curious about them when he came in yesterday," Raine considers. She nods at Phillip, then smiles. "Sure, I'll fetch some for you then." She looks to Veritas and smiles. Then turns red. "Eeh, hmm. Honey huh?" She taps her chin thoughtfully. Alas, said cute nurse in the corner seems unaware of the impending honey coating drills and keeps herself working. She notices Iceblade grinning and smiles back politely. Work work. "I don't know about that, seems tough to wash off." Wink. With that, Raine goes to fetch Phillip some pain meds.

    Veritas shakes his head, "Nope I am an expert of honey removal, it just takes some elbow grease and a talented tongue…" He winks at her as she flees to get the medicines.

    Phillip quickly recovers from his imagination and looks at the two. "huh? what? Oh yeah honey would be very sticky." Then Phillip catches something that he missed a second before, "Tongue?"

    Jawdrop. Raine's eyes widen. She turns bright red. Ohmy. Medicine. That's right. Focus. She will return after a bit with some pills and a dixie cup of water for Phillip. Her face is still bright red. "Here you go, take these. And hm?"

    "Drakili san tang zuu
    Theron val ki non
    Chinso nax zorn luu
    Sapus Kai vy Son"

    Veritas smiles softly as he says a bit of Kilrathi poetry and winks at Raine, "As you can see I am a cunning Linguist."

    Iceblade quickly takes the pills clearly in on something rather private, but as he starts drinking the water, the water and pills come splattering out as Iceblade starts laughing really hard. Thank goodness, his head was turned towards the privacy curtain in the opposite direction.

    Raine blinks at Veritas. Then her faces goes /red/ at his cunning linguist comment. Oh my. It's almost too much for Raine, her fingers curling and eyes wide. "That is impressive. I had no idea." A pause and a look to Phillip. "Errm… do you need some more?" Raine looks a bit concerned at the laughing and sputtering. She's not sure.

    Veritas grins and leans over to give Raine a kiss on the cheek, "Lots of things you don't know about me, but luckily we have plenty of time for you to learn." He then kinda moonwalks out of medbay, waving to Iceblade.

    Phillip waves goodbye to Veri. Still recovering from laughing so hard. "Dang it, I think I laughed so hard my sides actually split." Iceblade looks down to check for any signs of red, but luckily doesn't see any. "Oh and yeah I might need some more meds as they flew right out when I laughed." "Sorry," Phillip adds with an innocent grin.

    A soft laugh and a smile. "That's alright." Raine shakes her head. "Just be careful." She blushes as Veri grins and kisses her cheek. Her eyes go wide and she freezes like a statue. "A-ah." Ohmy. Between the two of them, the poor doctor is flustered, turning red and - getting Phillip more water and meds with wide eyes. "Be well, Veritas." She smiles as the pilot kinda moonwalks, seeming impressed and amused.

    Unfortunately after a second, Phillip goes into another fit of laughter over Veri's moonwalking. After a minute, Iceblade, "You know I haven't laughed this hard in years." Iceblade looks at Raine as she returns with meds adding, "Oh and don't take my laughter negatively, you two are just acting so corny, I find it funny…yet warming."

    Blink. Her eyes go wide and she reddens again. "Well.." Raine just blushes as he mentions corny. "That bad huh?" A faint smile. She offers over the meds and cup of water. "Just try not to lose too many of these huh? I'm glad you find it warming … and funny. I guess it is pretty goofy." She admits with a shrug. "He's very kind, though - I'm not sure why me."

    Phillip responds, "Well, you are cute, even though you seem to deny it. And as I said you are a very nurturing and sweet person, which probably makes you about the most attractive thing for anybody who has to face death everyday." Iceblade sighs, "Also you aren't so focused on the war and the death and the killing that awaits us beyond these walls. Of course, that is just an analytical examination, there is always that something that just can't be readily defined. Still, I'm surprised there aren't more guys asking you out."

    Blink. "T-thank you," Raine tilts her head. "Although we get to mostly see wounded people when we're on duty," She points out quietly. "It's not easy seeing someone you care about on the operating table," A faint frown. "But we do our best." She offers. Her face is still bright red. "Aaah. Well. There's lots of nice and pretty women on this ship. Some of them are very tough too," Nod. "All in all I think you're kind to say so. And I hope you do well here. The Majestic is a good place to be stationed. Is there anything else I can get for you?"

    Phillip glances over at that blonde nurse. "Maybe," he says contemplating, then he adds jokingly, "what about that nurse's name and number." Iceblade throws in a knowing wink.

    Raine smiles, then blushes. "I think you'd have to speak to her." She winks. "She's your nurse, so if you call us, we'll be glad to help you," She promises. With a smile.

    "Yeah, I know was just joking around. Still she is pretty though." Phillip then turns his head hearing somebody enter and sees Paz. I big grin crosses Ice's face at the sight of her.

    Paz ambles into the med bay with a friendly wave for Phillip and Raine. "So this is where you've been hiding." she teases the rookie pilot. "Gotta say, you've found a creative damn way of getting out of flight briefings." she snickers. "Doc, you aiding and abetting this kind of goldbricking?"

    Raine smiles and waves at Paz. "Hello there. And oh, he did a fine job, shrapnel costume and all. Even has one of our /nice/ nurses." She seems amused and looks to Phillip. "Well, you'll be around here a bit and you'll probably get to know most of the staff. This is a good place to be if you've been filled with shrapnel." Sagenod. "How are you too?" She looks to Paz.

    Phillip waves over at Paz. "Darn I think you caught onto my scheme…woah." Unfortunately, the pain medicine was little more potent than it was supposed to be and sleep starts bashing at Ice's door. "Say doc, are you sure you gave me the non-drowsy stuff?" With that Iceblade falls back to his pillows fast asleep.

    "Heh, he's learning fast, our Phillip." Paz comments drolly before Phillip crashes under the effect of the strong pain killers used down here. "So how long's he gonna be laid up?" she asks Raine. "Any idea?"

    "I did give him the non-drowsy stuff," Raine pouts a little. "We should see what the drowsy stuff does to you," She holds up a finger then hmms softly. "Could be about a week or so. They usually get well pretty quickly once we have folks on bedrest. Apparently not flying or doing anything is a huge motivation to get well. Who knew?" She notes wryly.

    "Heh, I know what the drowsy stuff does.." Paz chuckles. "Guess I've got something new to tease him about now." she winks. "Well, that's good news, he got pretty beat up last night." she sighs. "Any word on Pip?"

    "So I noticed," Raine murmurs then grins. "Guess so. And Pip? The Englishman got dented up again?" This is news to Raine, her eyebrows lifting and furrowing. "OH! Razor? He's doing well enough. He's healing up quickly. I'm impressed. But then the man took a HE Missile to the head…"

    Paz hrms, chewing on her bottom lip, but not saying anything. "Guess it was just his ship, then." she demurs, obviously not wanting to get any deeper into the topic just yet. "Ouch..how the hell'd that happen?"

    "I don't know all the details, but that's what they said when he came in," Raine is wide-eyed and in awe. "Pip hasn't been by here at all, so he must not be hurt or hurt badly," She muses. A smile at Paz. "So he's okay." She looks curious but respectful. "I'd ask, but it seems rude. Are you thirsty or anything?"

    "No, no, I'm good, thanks. Probably gonna hit FAL in a few." Paz replies with a shrug. "Thirsty work learning to fly all over again." she sighs.

    "Alright. And that sounds like a good idea. Are you in one of the new Rapiers?" Headtilt. Raine peers at Paz. "Kell was very curious about them," She motions towards the sleeping pilot's room. "Maybe he'd like it if you came by when he's awake and told him." Beam.

    Paz bobs her head a little. "That's affirmative. In all of their splendor." Paz replies, rolling her eyes a little. "They are going to take a lot of getting used to."

    "So I'd imagine. Those Scimitars served faithfully for what? Almost a century?" Ponder. Raine looks unsure. "I'm not sure. I just hear some gossip from the wounded pilots," She admits quietly. "I wish you luck though. I'm sure you'll do wonderfully." Smile.

    Phillip yawns as he opens his eyes. "What enlightening conversation, I'm actually almost fell asleep." Iceblade quietly quips.

    "Yeah, something like that." Paz nods in reply to Raine's statement. "The ones I was flying were older than my Dad." she chuckles. "But at least you know what the damn thing was gonna do when you gave it a command. These Rapiers? Ugh…..that gets dicey." she shudders. "Heh, you did fall asleep, Ice." she snickers. "Big time."

    "Old faithful," Raine smiles at that. "Well. I am sure you will be awesome at it in no time," She believes in The Paz(TM). "But Razor seemed curious. You'll have to tell him about it." Nod. Then a look over. "You did for a little bit. To think I gave you the non-drowsy stuff. You'd probably hibernate on the strong stuff," Grin. "How are you feeling?"

    Phillip responds, "Actually no, I was just faking it, in 'cause you guys talked about me. Still I needed to lie back and rest for a bit anyway."

    "Heh, yeah, you were faking it so well, you were snoring." Paz chuckles. "Surprised they didn't hear you on the bridge." she teases. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Doc." Paz grins. "We'll see what we can get done with 'em, one way or the other."

    "Uh huh," Raine just smiles. She'll go with it. "Had me fooled," She plays along for now. "And think nothing of it. I'm sure it'll work out," She nods. "And you aren't going anywhere Iceblade, though you're welcome to a book or something. Just don't try to escape. I think that orderly started a Judo club recently anyway."

    Phillip nods, "okay I did nod off for a few minutes…but you guys were just so boring I couldn't help it." Iceblade sits back up and looks over at Raine, "Still don't believe me ah, well if it was the meds that made me sleep then how can I be awake 30 minutes later. Anyway, I have no plan to leave here with that nurse here…wait where did she go."

    "Heh, yeah, watch her, if she's the one I'm thinking about, she can be damned unreasonable when it comes to people trying to sneak out of the med bay." Paz chuckles, tossing Raine the knowing look of someone obviously caught at it once before.

    "Oh, the Ninja Nurse? I think she knows ninjitsu, I can't be sure," Raine admits with a shrug then a soft snort. "Well, I'll tap dance next time," She smiles. A wink at Paz. "And yeah, they're sneaky. Don't worry, time will fly. I can bring you a book or something." She offers. A smile to Paz too.

    Phillip looks at Raine, "Nay, I've got my datapad here, I should be able to access my game collection or something." "Oh and Paz, how did your patrol go with our new hotrods?"

    "Heh, it went…that's about all I can say for it." Paz shrugs. "You didn't miss anything special, except maybe Crankcase spinning out on take off." she giggles. "That was amusing."

    "Oh dear," Raine smiles, "No one got hurt?" She boggles at the mental image. "It must've been pretty funny," She considers. A nod at Phillip. "Alright, well, no escaping. I wonder if I've still got that dart gun anywhere." Ponder. Shrug and a smile. "Oh well."

    Phillip chuckles, "Oh yeah, I can imagine. I've seen him around him before and he looks like he might have been flying since before the war." "Heck I bet he trained on those ancient minotaurs," Iceblade adds before turning back to Raine, "Oh I don't think I'll ever want to leave at this rate." Iceblade then gives a wink.

    "Heh, nah, the only thing that got hurt was his pride." Paz chuckles to Raine. "He bitched so hard, flight leader hadda threaten to put him on report, he didn't stop breaking radio discipline." she snerks, rolling her eyes a little. "Heh, trained on them? Ice, I think the man worked on the design team."

    Raine laughs softly at Phillip's response. She goes quiet to nod. "That's - oh dear." She was going to say it was good, but- oh my. Raine just rubs the back of her head and sits down to listen for now.

    Phillip laughs at that idea, "Quite." "Well, we don't need to knock the Rapier too much. She is a excellent fighter, baring the terrible turn of events yesterday. I think the blame falls more on that destroyer captain, two destroyers versus two cruisers, that was not a good match up." Iceblade, after looking down for second, adds with exuberance, "Say how are we doing on broadswords? We really need to hit that last Fralthi before she gets any reinforcements. She is damaged with limited fighter support and if there are prisoners on-board, we might be able to board it and free some of our friends in the navy."

    "Fralthi? What the hell are you talking about, Ice?" Paz inquires, frowning down at the man quizzically.

    Cole stalks his way along into the medical bay, looking around for a moment as he does. Taking in the sight of the little assortment of injured pilots here. Perhaps taking stock to see if there are any of his own.

    A blink. She looks confused. Raine smiles at Phillip. "I'm glad to hear you're enthusiastic," She considers. Raine just blinks. She looks lost again. Just when she thought she'd caught up to the pilots. Raine tilts her head. She pokes her head out the doorway to see who comes this way. She blinks owlishly at seeing Cole. "Oh, sir."

    Phillip raises an eyebrow and responds incredulously, "What Fralthi…Why the Fralthi that blasted at us last night and picked up the remaining crew from those destroyers."

    "Oh…that." Paz sighs. "We'll have to sort them out soon." she nods determinedly. "Meantime, you worry about getting back on your feet. We'll need the whole squad to take on that kind of firepower." she says, nodding politely to Cole.

    "Don't mind me Doctor. Just coming by to see how bad the butcher's bill is" Cole explains to Raine simply, looking towards Paz and Phillip and offering a simple greeting of "Evening, Lieutenants" to the pair.

    "Oh, alright. A few of them seem to be awake if you wanted to visit the pilots," Raine nods politely to Cole. "I think I've got Razor and Iceman here," She explains. She looks between the pilots. "Not sure if Razor's awake, but it is visiting hours and I can check if you like," She offers.

    Phillip just shakes his head and responds with voice getting a little elevated, "By that time the Kilrathi will have taken the jumppoint completely and pulled their Fralthi back for repairs." Phillip then sees Cole and nods at him with a slight smile, "OH, hey Captain, how have you and your squadmates been doing?"

    "Don't worry about it. If he wakes, he wakes" Cole says to Raine with a little shake of his head. "I'm not here to disturb anyone" Cole explains, before he looks along towards Phillip. "And Lieutenant? Believe me, I fully intend to make that Fralthi the next silhouette added to my broadsword."

    "Well, then they're gone." Paz replies simply, shrugging a little. "I know it sounds harsh, but you can't start kicking yourself over what you can't control," she advises Phillip gently, but firmly. "And, like Cole said, we know who she is…One way or the other, we'll dance again."

    Raine seems a bit surprised by the parade of pilots - but pleased in a way. The camaraderie is startling but a positive force. "The cats rarely let things go, they have tempers. So I am sure they will come after you again," Raine notes quietly with a frown. "You'll get your chance." She smiles politely to Cole. "Alright. Are you thirsty sir?" She asks politely.

    Veritas comes whistling back in he just kinda slips into med bay, twice in one day I think it is a new record he grins wide seeing Raine and winks at her, licking his lips a moment.

    Iceblade just nods and begins to look around at the seeming stampede of new arrivals. A bunch of patrols must just returned or something. "Well hello everyone, I guess we have so many injured pilots now that most of the wing will be in and out over the next few hours." Iceblade looks over to Trey and Kanani as well as a few other pilots who have just entered that he recognizes and gives them a quick wave.

    Kanani makes her way into the medbay quietly, and looks around for a few moments, before she carefully makes her way over towards the small group of visiting pilots, as well as the good doctor.

    "No, thank you" Cole replies to Raine with a little shake of his head. Kanani gets a curious look as she enters and a little smile, before Cole turns back to the business discussion at hand. "Really just a matter of waiting for the patrols to find them again. If you can find it, I can kill it."
     
  8. Iceblade

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    All Happening in the Med Bay (cont.)


    Dante steps into medical in his usual slow swagger. He moves like a cowboy might, and has the cowboy hat to match. No, it's not regulation. It's also a little singed on the right side of the brim, as though some gun fight from days past came within inches of removing him from the mortal coil. He's got a cigar, too, but it's sitting in his pocket. When he walks in, people blink, salute, and stand at attention, a reflex which Dante swats away with an annoyed brush of his hand.

    Party in the medbay! Woo woo. Raine nods at Cole, smiling politely. Kanani gets a little wave. "I am impressed," She admits quietly. And here's a Veritas. She smiles seeing Veritas. Then her eyes widen and her face turns briiiiiiiight red at the wink. Eh heh heh. He keeps that up and she might well faint on cue. But soon she's distracted and straightens a bit seeing Dante. "Sir," She greets him politely.

    Paz comes to attention smoothly when Dante enters the Bay, wincing a little in anticipation of the icy dressing down the 1087th and company might be in for after last night's debacle.

    Veritas is still near the door when the Commodore enters, he snaps to attention, and steps to the side letting him pass.

    Phillip looks up to see the Captain and instinctively goes stiff as he straightens and gives as perfect a salute as he can muster. This unfortunately causes him to wince a little.

    Dante looks more irritated than anything else, "Oh lands sake. As you were, already." The Commodore shakes his head and steps in. His voice is the tenor twang of southern inhospitability. Higher pitched than one might expect from a man with such a hardened expression, but the ruggedness is likely to show in spades. "Medical ain't no place for that sort of thing anyway. Y'all have better things to do."

    Paz passes a look between Veritas and Raine and then suppresses, with effort, a little giggle. "Nice." she murmurs, relaxing back into her usual semi-slouched posture.

    Iceblade puts his hands back on his lap and leans back to rest, wincing as he does so. Iceblade just looks around at everybody only lingering for very long on the Captain Commodore Dante and Paz. Iceblade remains completely silent feeling a little nervous.

    Veritas grins and drops to a more casual stance with Dante's order and wanders over toward Paz to see how she is doing.

    Kanani turns around and starts to salute, as she sees others doing so, but then aborts the salute in mid motion, as Dante tells everyone to knock it off. She gives a faint smirk as she finishes making her way over to the group.

    Dante "Inferno" Claybourne, back in his fighter pilot days, did not earn his callsign for being pliant and gentle. He's not fun and games in the medical bay, either. "The 13th Battlegroup's getting itself a reputation." This is spoken directly to Paz, whom the Commodore seems to recognize. His brow furrows a bit and he peers down at the cigar in his pocket as if he'd love to chomp on it. "S'where good ships go to die."

    And here is Raine, with her bright red face. She was just greeting the fellow really. She rubs the back of her head, looking a bit lost and owlish. She shrugs and picks up Phillip's chart to make sure he's not due to be dosed up with anything soon. "Yes sir. If you're thirsty, there's coffee and water." But for her part, she is quiet.

    Paz knows better than to try to reply to Dante when he's warming up to his full fire-breathing fury. She merely meets the man's eye for a moment to acknowledge his presence and attention to her and then tries to get really small.

    Iceblade's attention is now squarely focused on Dante only making a few quick glances back to Paz.

    "Well, Commodore" The Australian bomber pilot comments idly, looking back towards the man. "Suppose we'd best get busy with some killing of our own, then. Would hate to let those furry bastards dictate the score"

    Dante turns Cole-ward as if wading his way into a fist fight. "Reckon we should, at that." His expression already sour, he turns towards Raine and neutrally declines. "No, thank you Lieutenant." And then back to Cole. "Reckon we should. And we will. Might could say I'm doing you guys a favor right about now, because Intelligence wanted to send a few kids over here to have a little heart to heart with some of you folk. Told them to stick in. How many of you guys are in the, what is it, 1087th Fighter Squadron. The Minutemen?"

    Veritas looks down nervously then over at Paz and Iceblade, "Yes sir?"

    Paz isn't sure whether to be happy or insulted by Dante's tone, so she doesn't even think to look away or demur at the question. "Sir." she says simply, putting her hand up.

    For her part? Raine is quiet. This is pilot chatter. She will be here and there, tending to chores and answering questions from Corpsmen who wander in or a nurse.

    Iceblade stares up at Dante, who is not doubt very imposing when you're standing up. "Sir, I am also in the 1087th and should be up in a few days at the earliest, sir.

    Having said his piece, Cole falls quiet and takes a little step back again. After all, he wouldn't want to be mistaken for one of those unsavory Minuteman-types.

    Kanani steps back a bit to watch the ongoing proceedings between the Majestic's Captain, and the Minutemen, with a slightly curious expression. She is probably more curious than she lets on, but she's trying not to look -too- curious. She remains quiet for the moment, though.

    Dante narrows his gaze directly towards Phillip. "Well good!" The cheerfulness in his tone is overly saccharin, making the man's displeasure even more obvious, "I wish you a very sound and rapid recovery at the hands of Lieutenant Winterson. Got a question for you guys, though. A few actually. You know… an Exeter class destroyer crews two hundred men and women, give or take fifty. So one could surmise we lost about four hundred people last night, give or take about one hundred. Actual number is, let's see here.." He pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket that he clearly doesn't need. It's for show and he barely even looks at it. "Four hundred twenty. By my calculations, you boys had a rough night."

    The old man's paper work seems to be in order, but Paz isn't about to rise to the bait. Not yet, anyway.

    Veritas swallows once and shakes his head, "No, Sir" He says most respectfully.

    Iceblade just looks on only giving a quick nod and a "Thank you, sir." for the comment directed at Iceblade's health.

    The hapless JG is busying herself nearby. Yup yup. Raine smiles politely as she's mentioned, but says nothing. To the cute blonde nurse, she's explaining a chart in soft tones. They use indoor voices in the medbay. But still, she's got to keep some sort of eye on the gaggle of pilots.

    Cole, for his part just remains quiet… watching the 1087th have their little chat with the Captain. He slips over towards Kanani a little, glancing towards her for a moment as if about to say something, and then thinking better of it.

    "No?" The Commodore chuckles caustically towards Veritas, "I remember what it's like in a pilot's barracks. Might not register on your scale as a bad night, then. I wanted to ask you guys something. What was it? Was the mission too hard for you? I understand you're flying, what… Rapiers, now, instead of Scimitars. We lost half our battlegroup and that leaves us with our bare asses to the wind. So I wanna know from you guys just what the problem was."

    Kanani makes good use of two lessons taught to her by her dear old dad on surviving in the military. The first one being, "If it doesn't involve you, don't get involved." And the second being, "Stay out of the way of the Brass." Therefore she remains quiet for the moment, and does neither.

    Paz is doing her very best to keep her expression neutral and her breathing calm. "Permission to speak freely, sir." she says neutrally.

    Veritas comes a little more to attention, "No sir it wasn't a rough night. A rough night is when you come back with dings all over your ship and barely make it into the landing bay. A rough night is when you fly a 12 hour mission only to get woken up 2 hours later by a surprise attack. This was not a rough night. This was the death of over four hundred Confederacy soldiers, and the destruction or crippling of at least 7 combat vessels. It was not a rough night. It was a massacre. As to what we did wrong, what excuse we have, I don't have one for you, sir. We can second guess ourselves all day long, but it isn't going to bring those men back. sir"

    Iceblade has a few dozen comments to make about the battle last night, but his brother always said in his correspondences to never contradict the brass unless totally forced to, so Iceblade bites his tongue.

    Raine is quiet. Whether or not she approves, she says nothing. She's merely an /acting/ CMO and struggling to herd the medical staff let alone outside brass. As long as it doesn't disrupt other patients, there are bigger catfish to fry. She does kind of linger to catch up on the news…

    "Permission denied." The reply from Dante to Paz is sharp, the man turning towards Veritas. "You had shit odds, bad intel, and we've heard stories about the Fralthi crew that you faced." He turns towards Paz, "Go ahead, Ramirez."

    Veritas remains quiet and lets Paz speak now remaining at attention.

    "Well, sir, I think Veritas here pretty much summed it up, sir." Paz replies, fighting to keep her tone restrained and reasonable. "Though he left out the part where we sent _two_ bomber and a handful of fighters against two heavily armed capital ships with a full escort, sir. I'll be the last person in this room to make excuses for the debacle last night, sir. But, as Veritas pointed out, kicking ourselves to death won't remedy the situation."

    Iceblade keeps his mouth shut and will say nothing until spoken to.

    "Two bombers." replies Dante. "Two bombers. Was a two on two slugfest and we were souring up the odds against the fleabags. Intel dropped the ball and should've sent more." He sounds no less bitter, however. "When they dropped it, you should've picked it up, because there ain't no such thing as a fair fight. Ain't never been any such thing in the history of warfare. Exists in the academy, stays in the academy. Don't care how hard it was. You let us down, and that's all I got to say about that." he turns to go. "I'll be having a word with your CO. Scotch and smokes."

    "Well, I dunno about anybody else, but I feel like a real shit heel right about now." Paz sighs as Dante departs.

    Phillip's expression displays a small amount of confusion with the last statement Dante gave, but he holds the question for later when the Captain has left the room. After a number of seconds, Iceblade finally gives a sigh and then asks, "Okay what exactly does he mean by Scotch and smokes?"

    Veritas hmmms softly, "Actually I am still in the plus column for the week personally. I feel like crap over what happened yesterday, but then I come down to med bay, and it all seems to go away." He winks at Paz and then glances at the clustered medical staff.

    "Well" Cole comments, looking to the little crowd. "As fun as it was to be in the audience for that, I think I'm going to leave this party for the Minutemen." Either giving them their space to talk, or not wanting to catch any more 'friendly fire'.

    "I think it's Victoria and the WinCo." Paz replies with a half shrug for Phillip. "Never did understand what that man was talking about when it came to the whole 'scotch and smokes' thing." she sighs, then chuckles softly. "Don't wander off unless you want to, Cole. We might need to sit down and pow-wow about this in some detail. We've gotta figure out what went wrong last night so it doesn' happen again.'

    Raine rubs the back of her head. "I'm sorry you guys. And I don't know," Raine admits to Phillip. She looks apologetic to the pilots. "You're welcome to have some tea or coffee here if you like. Other than that— hey! Most of you are on— wait, so'm I." She's about to shoo off the nurses and corpsmen who have gathered to watch but then realizes she's doing the same. "Oh well." She gives up on lecturing them. It wouldn't be fair. She nods. "Be well."

    Phillip looks up to Paz and nods. "Oh funny you should mention that cause I've been spending my morning and early afternoon reviewing the battle. And God almighty, what a mistake it was to go after that Dralthi." Iceblade then spreads his arms to indicate his injuries.

    Kanani chuckles thinly as she watches the Commodore exit the medbay, and then approaches the group of pilots again. "Well, that was certainly pleasant. Though I suppose it's good to know that my Dad was telling the truth with the whole staying way out of the way of the Brass…"

    Veritas takes a good deep breath and shakes his head, "I should head back to bed I got a few hours before my next patrol."

    "The whole damn thing was a cluster fuck." Paz sighs, shaking her head a little. "And I dunno how we could've done it any better except for knowing the new ships better." she opines. "Which, is exactly what I am going to start doing, right now, matter of fact? Anyone feel like crawling around in a Rapier?"

    Raine smiles at Veritas. "Sleep tight. And you can always come here to hide from brass if you need to, though that just means he uses his indoor voice," She tilts her head. She's bright red as she smiles at Veri and looks to Paz. "I don't know honestly. His is the most complete story of it I've heard. I'm just glad to get you guys back in one piece. Anyway," She looks to Phillip, "You should sleep soon too."

    Veritas smiles, "Keep an extra bed warm for me then, Doc. I just might need it."

    "What sort of crawling around did you have in mind, Tizona?" Kanani asks quietly. "Trying to get the deck crew to pull one apart for you to look at it all, or something else?"

    Phillip waves goodbye to Veritas, then turns back to Raine, "Oh mom, just a few more minutes." Iceblade jokes. Back to Paz, Iceblade comments, "Well I would join you in the sim, but I can't leave this room for at least another day."

    "Something like that, yeah." Paz replies to Kanani. "Wanna get into the guts of it. I've read the flight manual twice now, reads like stereo instructions. Need to get my hands dirty in one."

    Kanani nods at Paz a bit. "Yeah, getting to know your ship better, never hurts." She pauses for a moment, before adding. "Well, it doesn't unless somebody drops a piece of it on you, anyways."

    "I heard there were some training flights going on? Or I don't know, none of the good gossip gets back here in time," Raine admits with a smile. She watches Veritas go and looks to Iceblade. "You can stay awake, but you do so here." She winks. "And no at least another day. But you'll be fine in no time," She promises. "And you can get to know the staff." Or at least that nurse. Ahem. She shrugs and looks to the others. "I am glad you all came back."

    Paz can't help but chuckle softly at Raine's discomfiture vis a vis Veritas. It's too damn _cute_, and cuteness aboard this boat's been a luxury for a while now. "Thanks, Doc." she replies, giving the Acting CMO a respectful nod. "Maybe you could share some of that feeling with the Commodore….He doesn't seem to share it." she sighs, rolling her eyes and shaking her head a little. "Heh, Kanani, you forget where I grew up. I'm used to cranes going wrong and big hunks of spacecraft falling from the sky."

    Phillip nods at Raine, "Yeah, yeah." Turning to Paz, Iceblade says, "Oh Paz, I've been working up some notes based off of those stereo instructions. I'll type them up nice and neat and send it to Victoria for a quick perusal before sending it out to Squadron." Iceblade adds shrugging, "Might give us a bit of leg up at least."

    "Oh, yeah. That's right. I forgot that you'd probably be used to that sort of thing." Kanani states with slight grin. "Still, I guess it's probably not too much of a risk, anyways. Deck crew doesn't seem to make many mistakes of that sort, that I've ever seen, at least."

    Raine just smiles at Paz and nods back. "Well. He's probably grumpy because he has to herd twice as many cats. It's hard when people say I'm the CMO but I don't really have the rank to back it up," She seems a bit sad. "Oh well. If you need rest, feel free. Otherwise, I wish you luck. I'm glad for what we have. I don't think he sees the injured on a daily basis is all," She is giving Dante the benefit of the doubt. "Just practice and you'll get the hang of them. It seems like bad timing. New ships and suddenly the kitties swoop in."

    "True enough." Paz replies with a nod and a sigh, her comment clearly meant for everyone's statements. "Still, we gotta get our shit together. _I_ gotta get my shit together, at least."

    Phillip nods then looks to Raine and says, "Yeah we get new ships and then the first time they are flown, Confed suffers a major loss." Iceblade then turns his head away and begins to think about those 400+ people who are now dead, sick from radiation and probably killed, or captured by the Kilrathi now on some Kilrathi transport or that surviving Fralthi. Iceblade's thoughts begin to focus on memories farther back, back to when he heard the news ….oh God, the pain from it returns. Iceblade turns his head over to Raine, "Uh Raine, I think I could use some of that drowsy stuff, I want to be out of it awhile, a really long while." Iceblade just sits there, looking very somber and sad (an expression that nobody has seen on him in years) waiting to be put to sleep.

    "Sleep tight, Ice. Don't worry about anything but getting better." Paz says. "I'm looking forward to that booklet you were talking about." she adds with a smile. "We're gonna frickin' need it, I'm thinking."

    Kanani chuckles and shakes her head slightly. "I guess I should be glad that -I'm- not having to get used to a new fighter myself. Just imagine how much worse things would be on the ship, if all the squads were getting new ships…" She adds with a chuckle.

    At Phillip's request, Raine just nods. Though she'll carefully move over and gently pat his shoulder. "Sure thing." She smiles sadly at him. "Just worry about rest and getting better, okay? The nurse will probably check in on you soon too." She will fetch Phillip some water and meds. "Be well, all of you."

    "Thanks, Doc, you too, okay?" Paz replies. "C'mon, Kanani, let's let Ice get some rest." she sighs.

    Phillip after taking the meds, slides down into his bed, pulls the covers up tight, and closes his eyes hoping the meds will keep the Dreams away.

    Kanani nods at Paz. "Yeah, sounds like a good idea, I think." She gives the doctor and Ice a wave as she turns towards the exit. "You guys take care." She adds before heading off to leave the medbay.

    Raine smiles and gently pats Phillip's shoulder again. "Sleep tight," she murmurs. With that, Raine scoops up her bonsai and waves at the other pilots. She has work to do, some of it more pleasant than others.
     
  9. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    BONSAIS IN SPACE!!

    Medical Bay
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2658.138

    The simulator room is oddly devoid of decoration, as its main function is to house the simpods used for practice flights and training of fighter pilots assigned to the various wings of the ship. A control pod is situated near the back of the room with a screen so instructors can watch what's going on inside the pods, and eight simulation pods are located in a circular pattern in the middle of the room.

    The intrepid members of the 1087th have been respectfully requested by 1st Lieutenant Garcia to report to the simulator room by midnight, local time. Naturally, when they get there, they find the doors locked, with the note 'PLZ WAIT, TECHNICAL ISSUES!' posted on the door. Beyond it , Paz can be heard questioning, scolding and chivvying a pair of deck hands as the team frantically attempts to program the sim pods.

    "LT, you're doin' that _wrong_!" one of the hands protests.

    "No I'm not, you set the enemy skill level with the second dial from the right, it says so in this book….." Paz replies sharply before her voice trails off.."Which I am looking at upside down…" she adds.

    "LT, next time you wanna pull something like this, why don't you just send us a written request?" the other hand cuts in, his tone less than respectful. "Oh man! Why did you have to reset the V-gain on the screens? They'll be all blurry…..You know what, LT? Why don't you go outside and brief your people. Let me and 'Ski handle this." he intones, making it clear it isn't a request.

    The doors open just enough to let Paz exit, with both techs bitching audibly about 'that dumbass fighter jock' that 'wrecked their sims'.

    Phillip gives a quick chuckle, "So what have you got cooking here Paz," Iceblade speaks first.

    Trey is here, of course. He's in his uniform, and he's holding a Rapier flight manual open in a fashion that must've been done half a billion times, by the relaxed, annoyed stance of his pose. He's holding the book open by grasping some of the pages in his hand and letting the book -hang- open, like it's a centerfold. He's half leaned against a wall and is looking up at the booklet, which displays a diagram of some kind. The man's shaking his head. "I still don't know what the fuck PC Load Letter means. What the -hell-?" He stops as Paz steps out and nods at the woman.

    And who else should be wandering along this way, but a certain bomber Captain… with a tree-toting Medic in tow. "You know, Garcia, if you're going to drag me into this shit, you've gotta give me a bit more notice," the Australian bomber pilot comments with a little shake of his head, though he seems amused rather than upset. "This is the best I could scrounge up for a wingman. Guess at least you'll get the worst-case scenario for bomber performance."

    Bonsais… IN SPACE. Raine isn't bringing her tree into the sim mercifully. She rubs the back of her head, looking bemused. "Miss Paz," Raine smiles. She blinks owlishly. "Are you sure about this? I-" Raine just sort of looks bemused and a bit wry about this whole thing. She laughs. "Worst case huh?" She wrinkles her nose. "Well, I just hope I can help a bit I guess…" She goes quiet, having followed Cole along.

    Veritas slips in in full flight gear. He ignores the yelling from behind the door and smiles around.

    James makes his way into the sim room looking around as he comes. He looks surprised to see Raine here but nods in greeting to her "So what are we blowing to digitized debris today?" he asks cheerfully.

    "Okay, here's what passes for a pre-flight brief." Paz begins, drawing herself a little more upright and projecting her voice a little so it can be heard clearly. "We're sort of re-creating the mess from the other night. The idea is to try and find tactics and weapons that will work." she explains. "There's two Exeter-class Destroyers under attack from two Grikath bombers and one Fralthi light carrier. They've got a fighter screen of three Hhriss." she continues. "With the possibility of other enemy ships being launched. Captain Cole and CMO Winterson have been generous to offer their services to play out the role of friendly bombers. They'll be going for the Fralthi and any other targets of opportunity. The fighter elements' task is to jump on the enemy fighter screen and overwhelm it as quickly as possible. Be aware, further enemy assets might launch from said carrier unless it's disabled or destroyed. Any questions?"

    Phillip responds, "Uh yeah, so we let the Griks launch their fish while we tango with the Hhriss, not a good idea."

    Trey closes the flight manual and sets it down on a table. "No sir." Sir. He's still not owning up to his promotion. Instead he just stands at attention regardless if he needs to or not, and patiently waits.

    James isn't entirely sure what mess is being referred to but he nods in agreement "I think we need to decide first, do we prioritize killing the carrier or screening the destroyers first."

    Hmm. "Um. So I try to blow up the big bad and watch the Captain's back?" Winterson is a … bit lost. But she's trying. Her hazel eyes are wide and a bit blank as she listens.

    "Right. In front of you, you're gonna see a big goddamn cruiser. Can't miss it. Probably colored sorta red-orange. Point your nose at it, flip the selector switch to torpedo, wait until you hear a solid tone in your ears, and hit the trigger" Cole explains with a little chuckle. "It's a bloody big target. Even you'll probably be able to hit it."

    Veritas nods as he listens to the briefing, he doesn't add anything, as this is all too close to home for him.

    "Okay, how about this? You decide what your priorities should be." Paz nods in response to the questions, peeking into the crack in the door and nodding. "Okay, let's get suited up." And with that, the sim room's doors open wide, pods ready to accept their victim…er…participants.

    Phillip nods at Paz. Enters the room, walks over to his usual pod, hops in, and gets ready.

    This could be entertaining. Poor Cole. Raine smiles and nods, "That sounds good." Winterson seems to be good with that. Point nose at target, launch torpedo. Pew! She can handle it. She thinks. Maybe.

    James gives the doctor a smile then shrugs and picks a pod to climb into himself, his brow furrowed as he considers his actions in the sim battle.

    Deep space…..The stars as distant as God's love seems to some…. Into this blackness paint a pair of Exeter-class destroyers forming up, their massive RCS jetting hot, milky gas as they attempt to make a standard hi-lo cover formation. Against this, a brightly red and gold painted Fralthi, arcing down on her quarry, her fighter screen buzzing about like busy hornets while the bombers flatten out and attempt to end-run the two destroyers, torpedoes gleaming in the reflected light.

    « Well, this is cheerful » Cole comments into his comms, bringing his bomber around for the Fralthi. « Priority is to take out those bombers. Once they're done, the fighters aren't much of a threat. I'll see about punching out that Fralthi before they can get anything else into space. » And so he does, bringing his bomber in on a torpedo run aimed at the Fralthi's vulnerable flight deck.
    Trey messes with a few dials in his simulated cockpit, raps his fingers impatiently across the side of the panel, and presses a series of buttons on one side. «God. This simulator is so unrealistic. If this were the real thing it wouldn't smell so bad in here or feel like… plastic.» Trey hits the burners on his craft, sending the virtual ship shuttling through abstracted space. On comms, he sounds -very- cheerful to Cole. Almost playful, like it's some sort of cocky James T. Kirk impression. «Coooopy that, Voodoo sir. Two cooked bombers coming up. Have it your way at Grayson Burgers. Would you like fries with that, and have we got wing assignments for this dance?»

    «Roger That» His plane slides into formation with the others. «Cutlass your on my wing we will take the one on the left, and let Sloppy and his wingman take the one on the right. Stay with me and keep these guys off our bombers.»

    James nods and brings his fighter below and to one side of the main formation before switching his weapons controls over to Heat-seekers and roaring in on one of the bombers, carefully targeting it's engines before squeezing the trigger, «Cutlass Fox 1.»

    Beep beep! I'mma pilot! « Okay! » She's going to help! She's helping! Kinda. Raine is figuring this out still. Hmm. This one goes forwar— YEEK. Ok, that's acceleration. Now where's - there's missiles. Yay missiles! There's a good deal of hesitation mingled with a genuine eagerness to help. Hm. Whoops. Talk about the Short Broadsword in action.

    Phillip comms using the simulator's internal comm system, «Roger that Lead, Iceblade moving to knock out a bomber.» Iceblade then pulls alongside Trey as he begins to lock his IR onto the Grik that Trey is targeting. «Okay Kitty, here's a hot nasty up your tail.» Iceblade pulls the trigger.

    It all happens at once. The Fralthi's slight fighter screen spots the TCSF ships bearing down on the Grikaths and rolls in to strafe them. Blue-white tracers spitting from their guns, but to little avail. Two Hhriss's shots go wide; another's dent the nose of Philip's ship but does no other damage. The lead Grikath takes missiles in its port wing and tail section, spinning it out of control as it launches its warhead at the lead Exeter, causing it to miss wide, the ship spinning away as its pilot fights to regain control. The second Grikath fares no better, a missile dents its wing armor, but another burns its way into its control section, sending it skittering into the second Exeter's flak ring where the Confed ship's lasers shred it to pieces. The Fralthi makes a valiant stance before the friendly bombers' torpedoes strike it on both the flight deck and bridge, brewing the multi-ton light carrier up like a firework.

    For their part, the three remaining fighters re-form in the distance before charging back in the Kilrathi equivalent of a banzai charge.

    « Right. There's the barbie, who's got the chook? » Cole comments with a little chuckle into his headset as the Kilrathi carrier ceases to exist in a flash. « Let's finish off the rest of this mess and go home, » he adds, toggling his selector switch to Friend or Foe missiles and turning in towards a Hhriss.

    Raine would go whee! But she's a bit busy trying to make sure she doesn't slam into poor Cole. Whoops. No wait. What's that button do? Is she going up or down? Hrrrm. Shoot. This piloting thing is kinda complex. To those experienced, her antics must seem like the teen driver using a stick for the first time. Go. Stop. Start. Stall. Tuuuuuuuuuurn. FLAIL! Switch weapon— ok, that one changes what kills things. Good to know. « A barbie? » Blink. Cue the confused Raine. She follows along faithfully though.
    « Cutlass on me. Split you have the Hhriss in the back, I'll take the lead.» He then splits slightly from his wingman to allow both to take out the pair of enemy fighters.

    James smiles as his missile strikes its target joined by a volley from the destroyer and another missile from Veritas. The enemy bomber breaks apart and James glances towards the carrier in time to see the torpedoes hit. "Good shot doctor, good shot shir!" he calls over the comm before receiving his orders «Yes sir.» he responds even as he is swooping down on his assigned target «Cutlass Fox 1.»

    «Break. Break.» Trey's glancing out the back of his cockpit more than the front at this point, keeping an eye on the Hhriss who's attention he seems to have garnered. He ducks around the particles streaming past him and manages a lock on the bomber he's chasing after. The whole time he's peppering lasers at the thing, pausing where he has to so as not to shoot at Phillip's craft, which is after the same target. He gets tone, squeezes the trigger and sends the weapon into the craft. He sends his craft racing towards one of the Exeter's, dancing around the gun turrets until his shadow decides it's just not that into him, and then Trey peels off, in search of bomber-food. «You can't hit nothing. You can't hit NOTHING!» he taunts.

    Phillip launches his missile at the Grikath doing his part in taking it out. Iceblade takes a quick hit to the nose by the Hhriss, which then pulls back before turning on the Destroyer. Iceblade comms with a brief comment before turning onto the Hhrisses, «Okay, anybody think this turned out a little unrealistic.» As Iceblade's fighter begins burning for the Hhrisses, he comms, «Oh well, let's just get into a bit of tango with these Hhrisses and book it to bed.» Iceblade locks an IR onto the lead Hhriss.
    To make a short story even shorter, it's a _massacre_. The remaining Kilrathi fighters are swept from the virtual universe with unerring precision by the assembled TCSF pilots (and one slumming doctor, who might need to rethink her career choices, if this is any judge of her skill). The simulation ends, simply put, with two happy and undamaged Exeter-class destroyers, and a hell of a lot of debris fields from where the enemy units used to be before their righteous mangling.

    Phillip watches as the Kilrathi fail miserably and are blown to pieces including by him, which is actual pretty rare even when in the simulator. He comms over the sim unit, «You know I've been fightin' battles on this thing all week, and I've never been this lucky.» Iceblade then adds jokingly, «You know, I think Paz may have broken the simulator….Uh no offense Paz.» Iceblade then turns onto the last Hhriss and opens up with full guns.

    « Dunno about the fighters, but that's just a bad way for a Fralthi to get hit » Cole explains to Phillip, idly chatting while his latest shot tracks into a Hhriss. Ahh, the joys of fire and forget weapons. « Two of the five I've brought down have been flight deck hits. Between the fuel, the munitions, and the fact they're not really armored there? Goes up like a bloody tinderbox. Show me a live one, and I'll happily demonstrate »

    Unanswered, Trey brings his ship around and finishes off one of the wounded bombers. It's no contest. The thing's a wallowing mess with smoke and fire billowing from every angle. When trey switches to guns and destroys the thing, it's a mercy killing. «Captain Cole, your order is served, sir. Have it your way at Grayson's, tonight!»

    Raine blinks, and - whoops, did she just do a barrel roll? She did. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Either way, the hapless doctor is tagging along behind Cole. She's not sure she's ready to give up doctorin' yet, but it's proving to be quite an adventure. Too bad she couldn't fit a tree into the cockpit. She tries not to giggle at the comm chatter.

    Veritas switches over to his guns and yawns a little, «Ok this is almot like shooting cats in a barrel»

    James watches his missile sail off into space and mutters something about lowest bidders before swinging around for another pass on the lone Kilrathi survivor. «Cutlass fox 1,» he calls over the comm again.

    Needless to say, the remaining Hhriss is neatly eviscerated by the circling fighters and bombers, vaporizing into rapidly expanding digital pixels. The real surprise is the way that Raine's Broadsword sails through the destroyer's undulating, energetic flak ring without so much as mussing it's virtual paint job. Clearly, someone has been taking her lucky pills.

    « Nice work, everyone » Cole calls, before he pops open his little sim pod and moves to step back out into daylight. Or at least, the fluorescent imitation thereof.

    Flyin' like she's got her pants on her head, pants on her head. Eeeeeee. She closes her eyes briefly a moment as she sails neatly through the destroyer's flak. Don't explode, don't explode. No explode! Raine is relieved and wondering just how much of her lucky pills she burned through there. « INteresting perspective, » Is all a very surprised Raine manages. It's quite an experience to someone who doesn't normally fly as she pops open her own little pod and steps out. There's a weeble in her step. "… interesting."

    «I'd like to thank all the people who made this crushing victory possible.» Trey Grayson literally buzzes one of the Exeters, coming only a few feet from the control tower and bridge.

    Veritas just shakes his head. He then makes a point of buzzing Raine's ship close in the simulator as he pulls off the last shot on the Hhriss.

    Phillip's guns barely even touch the Hhriss before the ship is blown to pieces by everything in the digital space. A few laser shots from the destroyers flare his shields, but Phillip just avoids the remaing shots without even trying…which he isn't. After the simulation ends, he pops the simpod and steps out totally confused and clearly just shocked by such a sweeping victory against Hhrisses no less. He looks around the room and just waits for others to say their piece before making any further comments than he already has.

    James climbs out of his pod and smiles as he walks to greet the doctor "Are you sure you didn't moonlight as a pilot to help pay for med school or something doctor?" he asks warmly as he approaches.

    Eek! buzzed! Raine doesn't not notice that. She smiles at James then laughs softly, "I think it was dumb luck and following the Captain…" She had it easy, following an experienced flier. She does look amused and smiles at Phillip. "But I should get back to my end of the ship. Paperwork stops for no woman or tree," She bobs her head. There's a warm smile to Veritas too and soon Raine is off to Bonsai-land.

    Phillip notices that everybody seems really tired, so he makes no further comment and follows them, completely silent and deep in his own thoughts, up to the pilot's quarters and hits the sack.

    For her part, Paz sits in the Flight Directors' chair, chortling her ass off in the most embarrassed of ways. "Okay…heh…that did not go as planned." she snickers, shaking her head

    James veers off to his own squadron's quarters when the time comes and within half an hour of the simulation ending he's sleeping peacefully other then rolling over occasionally.

    "Damn good flying, Doc." Paz says, moving to offer the CMO a handshake. "You ever wanna learn the ropes, lemme know."

    Heehee. Raine still looks bemused and gently accepts the handshake. "T-thanks. And hey you never know, it might be fun to learn," She smiles at Paz. "I may sometime. Until then, be well. I don't want to see any more of you guys in my bay," Nod. And off she goes!

    "Thanks for coming, guys." Paz grins, giving the two a wave as they depart. "Good hunting."
     
  10. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Phillip Revealed

    First and Last
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2658.139

    Though a single space, the ship's lounge is divided into three sections by a pair of heavily tinted glass panes, painted with the logos of the six squadrons which serve aboard the Majestic. Blue carpeting runs through all three, and the only entrance and exit is located through the center section.

    The center space sports a scattering of metal tables and matching chairs, all bare silver to contrast with blue carpet. A small bar is located along the aft bulkhead, with a wide selection of beverages located in the cabinets behind and a few barstools set in front. Flanking the bar are a pair of large vidscreens, to keep the crew up to date on the latest in news or entertainment.

    The side rooms are configured identically, each with a small vidscreen mounted above a shelf that runs along the bulkhead, giving occupants a place to rest drinks or possessions. The room to port has been set up with a pool table, while the room to starboard sports a pair of poker tables.

    Painted on the starboard-side glass partition is the squadron logo of the Minutemen. A copper-green image of an 18th century militiaman stands over a shield-shaped striped red and white background. Text above the logo reads '1087th Fighter Squadron' and below 'Don't Tread On Me'.

    The room was empty save for the bartender who is cleaning some glassware at the bar in the back and 2nd Lt. Phillip "Iceblade" Bradford who is sitting over at the small table in the corner. On the table sits a beer bottle completely drained of its contents, a second bottle that remains unopened, and a third almost emptied bottle with which the pilot is currently engaged. Iceblade leaning into the table with his arms crossed on it. His eyes are fixed on the center of the table and he appears heavily troubled and deep in thought.

    Midnight at FAL…Put your Pazes to bed…The young, raven haired Latina fighter jock ambles into First and Last with a distinctly unhappy look on her face as she dips into the first barstool she finds. "Beer me, Joe." she calls to the bartender. "You ever have one of those days?" she asks the man, and presumably anyone within ear shot, "When you wonder why you even bother getting out of your rack? I mean, even if it's just to chuck yourself out of the closest airlock?" she sighs.

    Trees can be nocturnal too right? Raine yawns as she wanders in. There's a faintly sad aura to her, as if remembering something depressing. She keeps a bonsai with her, this one a small Rosemary tree. She wipes at her eyes, blinking fast and wanders up to the bar. "May I have some tea please?" She asks quietly. She pauses, noticing Paz and smiles. "Hello there." Though it doesn't seem quite so cheery, more subdued.

    It is only a few moments later that probably the shortest officer most people have ever seen enters the Lounge with his duffle over his shoulder. He can only be, tops, five foot two but he is BROAD of shoulders with short squat legs and powerful arms that seem a little bit longer in ratio to the body then most people ending in massive hands. His rank designates him as a Lieutenant Commander and his division badge reads "ASTRO". The name tag? "SAINT-CLOUD". He runs a massive hand through his short buzzed red hair and peers about the room, slowly for a few moment. Cautiously he makes his way towards the bar.

    Paz gives the newly arrived Doctor a wan smile of her own as she sips at her beer. "What's got you down, Doc?" she asks. "You get dragged into the Chief's office to get reamed out for messing up the sim pods?" she smirks cynically. The new arrival does not go unnoticed, turning her head, the young 1st LT turns to peer at him curiously. "Hey, Doc, who's the new guy?" she stage whispers.

    "No, just miss a friend who was lost," Raine smiles back sadly. She takes a deep breath, "I shouldn't stew over it, but- he liked bonsai trees too and he was sort of like an older brother," She blinks fast and sets her tree down. She asks for some water for her tree too. Then a pause, "Who?" She turns just in time to notice the shortest officer about. She blinks owlishly a few times. "Haven't met him," Raine admits. She looks like she might greet him- hesitates. Blurts out, "Hello sir."

    Saint-Cloud is thanking the tender for his glass of bourbon and ginger ale when he hears Raine speak to him. He looks over (and up) at the doctor.. and notes the rank and of course the white coat. "Good evening, lieutenant." he says, noting her nervousness since she did just blurt. "And at ease. I'm not even officially signed in.. yet." he looks to the pilot, again his sharp blue eyes studying her as he did Raine and smiles to her as well. "Nice to being relegated to the 'new guy' status," he quips, though in an easy and friendly manner. "I'm your new Astro." and that also means 2nd Officer of the ship.

    As the several additional officers enter, each gives Iceblade a wave or a nod, which has gone unnoticed by Lt. Bradford. So deep he is downcast that even the loud crash of glass from a cup dropped into the bar's sink doesn't cause Iceblade to turn or even flinch.

    "Oh-ho! A new Astrogator." Paz replies, surveying the man carefully before replying. "So, who'd you piss off to get sentenced to this boat, sir?" she inquires with a cynical smirk, sipping at her beer without seeming the slightest bit interested in coming to attention. "Don't tell me, lemme guess….You got caught porking the Admiral's secretary? Wife? Daughter?" she chuckles.

    A pause. She smiles at him. She's shy. Poor fellow. "Really? That's pretty neat," Raine offers. And yes, she has a tree with her. People around her seem oddly used to it. She looks over to Phillip and blinks. She goes quiet, perhaps considering what to say. "All of our pilots seem really sad in here, I hope they're okay," she taps her chin thoughtfully and blinks at Paz. her eyes widen at the joke. "I'm sure he wouldn't do that, right?" Riiiiiiiiight? Raine hopes.

    Saint-Cloud smirks and sips his Seven and Gin before setting the tumbler down. Every move he makes is careful, precise, as if he is afraid he might break something he touches. "I tend to choose my liaisons a little better than that. My wives drove that into me," he states. Yes. He said wives. "No, I had the honor of driving a light carrier into a Kilrathi dreadnought. It was on purpose, mind you. It even got me a promotion. But command decided to let me cool down a bit and sent me to the academy for a while to teach, but apparently your tactical crew here is… it is better left unsaid. So I got sent back out." He is about to respond to the doctor when he hears the glass fall and break. The short man raises a brow. "I see what you mean." he says, then to answer the question. "Would I? Oh yes. I would have. But as I said, I was informed to make better choices unless I want to sleep on the couch next time I am home."

    Paz regards the little Astrogator for a long moment before giving a throaty laugh and extending her hand. "Ha! Welcome aboard, sir. First Lieutenant Paz Garcia of the 1087th," she says by way of introduction. "And I wouldn't blame you, by the way, for the wife or the daughter," she winks playfully. "I'm not bi, but I am open minded, sir," she chuckles again before she spots Phillip in a sad, sad state. "This here's Doc Raine, best CMO you could ask for. And be nice to her trees. They're like her totems," she adds. "Excuse me, sir, Doc, I need to see to my wingman," she says, snagging her bear and making for the downcast pilot.

    After having nearly sat there with an emptied second bottle, Iceblade finally looks up as he begins to open his third and hopefully yet doubtful bottle of beer. He notices Paz, Raine, and a new face over at the bar. In fact, the appearance of this new individual is odd. It looks like a larger version of somebody with dwarfism, a long-removed genetic abnormality in humans. Seeing the approach of Paz, he decides to stand up, extend his arm for a handshake, and put on a more cheery expression, which almost works except for the distant, sorrowful look in his eyes.

    Blink. Raine turns red at Paz's comments. "I'm the /acting/ CMO. I don't have the rank for it… I really hope someone takes it too, it's like herding cats. Except they can blissfully ignore me," Sadface. She smiles, amused at the wives and daughters commentary. "I'm Raine Winterson, Lieutenant JG. I just duct tape people back together," she waves a hand dismissively. It's nothing, really. "And yes, please do be nice to my trees." They seem as much a part of her as her herself. She peers at Phillip. "Hey… are you alright?" She's looking overwhelmed. She's been talking.

    Saint-Cloud chuckles at Raine's comment then introduces himself to her and Paz (and anyone else who is within earshot). "Well, /Doctor/.. Lieutenant. I'm Lieutenant Commander Dorian Saint-Cloud. And It is a pleasure to meet you. And yes, I will be good to your tree's, Doctor. Plants are very special where I am from and well cared for.. Well.. not by me. I don't have a green thumb. One or two of my spouses work in agriculture, though, so I know enough not to kill them," he says. He isn't REALLY following Paz but the distance is close enough that all he really has to do is turn and face Phillip. He sees the hand and in return takes it.. Easily engulfing the pilots in his own huge one. "And a pleasure to meet you."

    "Okay, Rookie, what's your malfunction du jour?" Paz asks simply, slipping into a seat across the table from young Phillip. "Your girlfriend take up with someone else?" she asks with just a hint of pitiless indifference. "Parents get divorced? Grandparent or parents die?" she asks, stretching out languidly in the seat and sipping her beer, rather pointedly ignoring the introductions going on around her.

    "2nd Lt. Phillip Bradfor..dd…" Upon shaking the Lt. Cmdr.'s hand, Phillip finds himself nearly losing his balance. Under more sober conditions, the handshake would not been as drastic, but after downing a few bottles of beer in addition to a glass of wine from earlier, well let's just say Phillip is a little off. After catching himself and returning his arm to his side, he quickly adds "Callsign Iceblade." Phillip then turns to Paz, "Uh…well it's not really anything like that, just…wait girlfriend!?! Geez, I haven't even gone out with her yet and everybody on the ship knows."

    Raine smiles at Saint-Cloud. "That's very kind of you. I am afraid the pleasure is all mine sir," she nods. "Really? They're good trees," she nods. She looks to Paz and Phillip now. "And yeah, she kind of works for me…" She rubs the back of her head, looking at Phillip. "I have to pay attention to what goes on in MedBay," she sighs. "It's not like most of the doctors will LISTEN so if I pay attention, then I can figure things out." She gets her tea and sips it quietly. She seems content to watch and listen as much as anything else. Existing is an energetic thing for Raine.

    Saint-Cloud frowns slightly at Iceblade's… status. The swaying and the wobbling. He lets the two pilots speak since, really, he doesn't have a CLUE what is going on and the less he knows the better.. maybe. "How about I get him a coffee…" he tells Paz, then looks to Raine and smiles again. "Not so kind. Just truthful. And yes, trees are special back home. The natural plants back on Dusk are.. not like earth trees. The gravity is too high and the atmosphere and weather.. is not conducive to their growth. Though I think my wife or my husband said they were trying to introduce a genetically engineered species of pine.." he scratches his head. "But I don't remember fully. Life sciences always made my eyes glaze over…. But their always glazed when I spoke physics so.. it's all good."

    "Coffee's a good idea, sir," Paz nods. "None for me, though," she interjects just as quickly. "Okay, Iceblade, start talking," she says firmly. The Commander and the CMO's banter falls away as she focuses on her comrade. "You're on a bender, that much is obvious, wanna tell me why?"

    Phillip turns his head slightly towards Saint-Cloud as he waves off the coffee, "Nay, I'll be fine as long as I don't do anything that might throw my balance off." "Like flying," Iceblade adds with a chuckle and an eye roll as he turns his head back to Paz. "Recent events" is all Iceblade says before he returns to his former seat.

    Raine looks a little worried seeing Iceblade's state. Her eyebrows furrow. She looks to Saint-Cloud and nods, "That sounds like a good idea. Just don't give him too much more booze," A frown. She tilts her head then looks to Saint-Cloud. Marriage must be different there. She looks confused a moment then nods. "I see. You'll have to stop by and see the bitty trees. I think you'd like them," she offers. She's shy, but friendly. "Physics isn't my forte, but I'm not too bad at it. I just - don't do it much. They keep me busy handing out Hello Kitty bandaids," She smiles.

    Cole wanders his way along into First and Last, taking a little peek around at just which members of the Majestic's merry band of miscreants happen to be lurking here this evening.

    Jim seeing, a bunch of people in the First and Last, decided to waltz right on in. He doesn't seem to recognize anyone there.

    Late night on the TCS Majestic and all of the usual suspects are to be found, where else, in First and Last. There's a vertically challenged but physically strong Lt. Commander all but dancing attendance on our beloved Acting, but who are we kidding here, CMO. And yes, two of those damned Minuteman, Paz and Phillip, ensconced in a corner table deep into conversation.

    Saint-Cloud nods to Raine as he grabs the coffee carefully in his massive hand, ignoring Phillip's refusal for the caffeinated goodness. "Well I would hope so. I wouldn't know what to do if a tree hated me," he admits. He turns around and sets the coffee down, daintily but still sloshing it a bit. He always seems to move with deliberation, as if his minute height coupled with his broadness makes him a bit clumsy. "Of course, I will probably be in your sickbay soon enough. We need to do my onboard physical.. and go over my requirements," he tells her. The Littlest Lt Cmdr smiles at Phillip. "I would /advise/ you sober up. I haven't had a chance to cull.. I mean restructure.. tactical yet so you never know when they will screw up and call you to the deck for a flight."

    "Gonna give you a really simple choice, Iceblade." Paz drawls simply. "You can drink the coffee and sober up fairly easily…wake up tomorrow with a little hangover that a couple of aspirins'll knock out," she says, nodding to the coffee cup. "Or, you can play it my way, which is drink yourself stupid tonight, stagger down to med bay for alcohol neutralizers and spend fifteen minutes in the head taking the kind of shit you've only had nightmares about. Your call, kiddo…."

    Phillip looks between the coffee and the open bottle of beer. He makes a go for the beer but his hand passes it and picks up one of the two empty ones. He stands up a bit and prepares to throw the beer bottle, "Unh…it probably wouldn't make a difference anyway." At the last second Ice turns and throws the beer bottle. It barely misses the nearby hole for the garbarge chute, crashing as it slams on the back wall. Iceblade then sits back down and looks at Paz.

    Raine tilts her head, "I don't think they really hate anyone unless you try to use them for tinder." She offers a little smile. She nods, "That's fine. Just come down whenever you like," She offers to Saint-Cloud. Then a frown at what's going on with Phillip, "That's not true and you know it. I prefer not to have to herd drunken pilots then clean up the head after them," She frowns and folds her arms. She winces as the bottle hits the wall. There's a few glares. "I'll clean that up, don't worry," She waves a hand and goes to get a broom.

    Saint-Cloud sighs and steps back, letting Paz deal with this.

    "Stand fast, doc." Paz calls, motioning to Raine. "No need for that," she says firmly. "Okay, Second Lieutenant, you've got about ten seconds to explain to me what you're on about, and, heh, hey, guess what?" she grins malevolently. "Eight of them are gone. So, c'mon, give it up. What's the prob? How can I help?"

    "Since I've been out of the Med-bay, I've taken on extra search patrols. As many as the CO will allow me, but there is not a sign of that Fralthi. It likes it escaped into an asteroid field or something." Iceblade looks down again then back up, "Other day when…when those destroyers….no…not those destroyers…those parents, those sisters, those BROTHERS…God where does all of this end…then I hear from my brother in Vega…." Iceblade just shakes his head and loses his voice.

    Saint-Cloud suddenly frowns and makes a face of.. not pity but sympathy.

    "Are you sure?" Raine looks concerned. Glass shards tend to make for more patients. She looks sympathetic once Iceman spills his story. "Oh… I'm sorry," She whispers. She lingers near Saint-Cloud for now, eyes wide.

    Paz's reaction is simple, first, she gives Phillip a slap to the face that's like to leave a handprint, then she pulls him close to her shoulder, hugging him tightly. "I know, Ice, I know…..But we can't dwell on it, can we? Doesn't make it any better, does it? We gotta learn from it. We gotta learn from it and be stronger. It hurts, it always does…"

    Phillip is totally shocked by the slap and the hug. In fact, he is right now totally dazed. When Paz lets go, he falls right back into his seat and looks practically unconscious but his eyes are open. A second later, he wakes from his near blackout and shakes his head.

    Saint-Cloud doesn't know HOW to react to that. SO he doesn't. He just looks to Raine and shrugs. "I think.. it is better I didn't see that," he says. "So I think I will go find my little corner of officer's country and send off my correspondence before I hit my rack. The kids and spouses will want to know if I made it safely." He drains his drink and picks up his small duffle. "Tomorrow, then, doctor?"

    Raine fails her will save and is stunned briefly. Her jaw falls open. "Um. I'll leave them some coffee, clean that glass and get back to my bonsai-cave…" She rubs the back of her head. A smile to Saint-Cloud. "Okay. Kids and spouses?" Her eyes widen a bit. "That sounds pretty tough. I think my family's happy when they don't get the 'Raine just proved natural selection works. PS- here's her stuff' letter," She notes. "That sounds fine. I'll be available. Welcome aboard sir." Nodnod.

    "Look at me, Ice," Paz says, her coal-black eyes trying to meet his. "You can, and will, drive yourself crazy with 'woulda, coulda, shoulda.'" she says flatly. "We lost the other night, and we lost people. I know that. But you can't kick yourself over it, okay?" she adds. "It's just _war_. You can't control or predict it. All you can do is learn from it. So harden your heart, _Iceblade_," she says, giving the man's frigid call sign particular emphasis. "And buck up. It seems impossible, you should've seen me when Jolly bought it," she sighs, shaking her head a little at her own remembered sorrow. "But you can, and you have to. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up to follow them, and they wouldn't want that."

    Iceblade's eyes narrow and he turns his head and points through the window where the TCS Honour can be seen - the light carrier that was the barely saved the other day. The fear and uncertainty in Phillip's voice have now been replaced by unadulterated rage and sheer hatred and he begins speaking loudly so everybody else can hear, "My brother was serving onboard one of those in Vega a week ago. Now he's not cause it was blown to hell by a surprise Kilrathi strike." Iceblade drops his arm and turns back to Paz. "From what I've gathered, the colony they were trying to protect when this fleet attacked is now gone. Despite my brother's and other pilots' best efforts, the colony was destroyed. Now he and only a handful of almost 40 pilots are alive, rescued by the simple luck of reinforcements arriving when they did." A pause as Iceblade staggers a bit while standing up. He looks around as he speaks, "MORE LIVES FOR A WAR that will no doubt end in the COMPLETE GENOcide of one race over the other, and we are all..right..fucking..in the middle of it!!" When Iceblade finishes his expression betrays a clear urge to kill something…probably something with fur that goes meow, rarr, or Kilrathi-speak. Iceblade, though essentially correct given the known nature of Kilrathi, Iceblade has clearly lost all of his cool and probably needs to release it for him to regain the focus he had.

    Saint-Cloud smirks over his shoulder as he moseys towards the door. "It isn't as tough as you may think. I have five kids, personally and 6 more creche-children. Three of /mine/ with my wives in our creche-marriage back on Dusk and two with two of my ex-wives off of Dusk. Well.. I think they are both my ex-wives.." he looks at his watch. "Yeah. The five year marriage contract on the last one ran out a week ago.. Thank the goddess." he shakes his head. "It may get tougher when they start going to college but not as hard as it was for MY parents. Their marriage group was larger than mine. And the number of relations OUTSIDE the group…?" he chuckles at the thought. Finally he looks at Paz and Phillip one last time… Then walks out.

    Raine is watching, feeling the intensity of the moment. She offers quietly, "We do have a gym and a pool. I'd suggest working out a bit there or in the sims," she rubs the back of her head. "And being sure to rest as well, okay?" She offers to Iceblade and Paz. Raine scoops up her tree. She smiles at Saint-Cloud, "Really? That sounds really different. I've never heard of this sort off arrangement so maybe I'm just not well informed." But if you don't know better, well- it works out. "Interesting though. Be well then," She waves at the shorter man and will start away herself. "I am sure they will be just fine. They have good parents I think." Beam. She believes! Either way, tree and Raine have duties to do.

    Paz lets Phillip go to roar at the heavens for all of their random injustice, sipping at her beer thoughtfully as she waits for him to boil down. "You finished?" she asks Phillip in a tone that seems carved out of ice. "You done? No, no, don't answer until you're certain," she adds almost mockingly. "Yes? Then sit the _fuck_ down and make like a soldier," she snarls, impatience coloring her tone. "I'm not mocking you, Bradford," she says with a little more warmth to her voice. "And I am deeply sorry for your loss," she adds sincerely. "But that's come and gone, now. And if you take that shit up into the cockpit with you, you will be _DEAD_ when the next fight is over," she says firmly. "Jettison your personal baggage, Bradford. All it can do is slow you down, futz up your thinking and make you combat ineffective. There's a time and a place for hatred….the time is on-mission, the place is on-target….past that, let it go…"

    Phillip nods at Raine and looks at Paz. He picks the coffee and downs it without stopping. He then sits down clearly still in a bad way and just looks at the floor breathing through his mouth.

    Raine nods back at Phillip, "I'll clean up the glass or get the support crew. You really should look into gym or talking to one of the chaplains/counselors, okay? We care about you," she smiles. "Even in your worst moments. But Miss Paz is right, you need to clear your head or you'll get hurt out there. Either way, thank you both. Am glad to see you." She smiles, waves and heads on out.
    "Something on your mind, Iceblade?" Paz inquires, her tone cool and collected.

    Phillip, still very much hyped up and ready to tear through some flesh, hears Raine's comment and latches onto it just like he latched onto a certain "meow" long ago. Phillip quietly whispers, almost under his breath, "gym." It is almost as if a tiny sliver of his being managed to clear from the fog of emotion to eek out the answer on how to cure this situation.

    "Okay….let's go to the gym," Paz replies simply. "You looking for a workout or something else?" she asks as she stands.

    Phillip stands up and leaves the room totally silent. As he does so, the bartender goes about cleaning up the broken glass. On the side of his neck is a scar that looks like it resulted from a beer bottle, probably tossed when the thrower was drunk and didn't realize the bartender was between him and the garbage chute. Obviously, he learned this lesson well, until the glass-throwing drunkard has left the room, do not go about cleaning up the glass. You might just find yourself in the crossfire.

    Designed to fit a maximum of facilities in a minimum of space, the Fitness Center of the Majestic is an oddly crowded room. Entrance from the Crew Services deck actually leads to the second level of the facility, with ramps to left and right leading down to the floor. Ringing the sizeable room at the height of the second level is a four lane running track. Set under the running track around the perimeter of the room are a number of weight machines, exercise bikes, a set of punching bags, and numerous other types of stationary equipment. The center of the room is relatively more open, containing a boxing ring and a number of mats suitable for either gymnastics or martial arts. Locker rooms are set into the fore bulkhead, with a sign by the doors indicating that access to the facility's pool is through the lockers.

    Paz follows Phillip to the gym in icy silence. If he's looking for a fight, a glance back at her expression will make it very clear he'll find one if he pushes things.

    Phillip, upon entering the gym, heads down to the lower level towards a punching bag, which has a matt on the ground around it. The gym, which is actually empty, is currently fairly dark with a lighting level reminiscent of early dawn. The aforementioned bag has amusingly enough been painted with a full-sized picture of Kilrathi onto it. The paint, however, is crumbling off due to excessive abuse. No surprise there. Upon the sight of it, Iceblade races at it and begins to pummel the bag as hard, viscously and recklessly as possible.

    Paz follows Phillip down, slowing her pace so that by the time Phillip's down there kicking the stuffing out of the faux Kilrathi, she's halfway down the stairs. "I heard you liked it rough, Iceblade," she comments acidly. "But I didn't know you beat yourself off."

    Phillip ignores the comment from Paz and continues his assault. The bag is taking quite a pounding, but it was meant for this kind of abuse. As much force that is going into the bag, the mass of it prevents it from moving very far. Now, however, Iceblade is starting to throw in kicks with his punches and even he knees the Kilrathi a few times. Damn he is way pissed. Phillip's anger is becoming far more focused and as a result, the forces of his attack are starting to be directed more continuously in one general location. The bag is starting to get pushed backward more and more and thereby pushing towards Phillip more and more with ever increasing force. Iceblade's assault, though, continues unabated, so the bag is unable to complete its forward swing and never actually returns to the vertical position.

    Paz watches for a long moment before she ambles down the stairs, stopping just after the last of them. "Wow, you're….really kicking some ass now," she comments, chuckling softly, though warily keeping her distance. Crazy people are unpredictable and Phillip is clearly starting to fall into said category.

    Phillip keeps attacking but is starting to slow down. Punches start becoming fewer, but they are harder hitting. One very significant punch goes in, and the bag is forced backward to its greatest extent. Then as it returns to Phillip, he swings hard, but ends up missing with his body going forward. The bag pushes forth right into Iceblade's shoulder resulting in a rather hard hit that knocks Phillip to the mat several feet backward. Iceblade is now on his back and breathing hard. His face shows exhaustion from the exercise yet no anger.

    Paz starts to move to help the man, but checks herself. Whatever battle he's fighting is clearly in his head, and unless she sees blood or evidence of real trauma, she's not about to make it hers. Not with a full schedule of CAPs to fly "You okay?" she asks, with something approaching compassion, without actually being it, in her tone.

    Iceblade catches his breathe after a minute of heavy breathing. Upon which, he tilts his head up to look at the still swinging bag, which is almost returning to a steady state. Paint where Phillip was hitting the most and the hardest has been almost completely transferred to his hands, which he now looks at before returning his gaze at the faux-rathi. At the sight of the near-pelvisless Kilrathi, Phillip starts laughing, firstly mildly then hysterically. His head is now back on the matt.

    The lunatic is on the mat…..The lunatic is on the mat… Paz advances towards Phillip warily, keeping her hands up and her feet poised to make a quick getaway should it be needed. Inhuman rage followed by disassociated laughter…..Yeah….That's a good sign. "Lieutenant Bradford?" she asks, just loud enough to be heard.

    Phillip looks up at Paz and then points to the faux-rathi while saying through less hysterical laughter, "Look, I CAT-strated it."

    "Eh….okay…" Paz replies, letting her 'okay' trail out just long enough to express her bewilderment and mounting alarm. "Is this the point when you tell me what the hell you're going on about, or am I supposed to guess?" she asks. "Note to self, never follow crazy drunks into the gym," she whispers.

    Starting to calm now, he gets up into a half-sitted position with most of his weight on his right arm. He then says, "Woah, that was actually rather helpful. I really need to do this more often." He looks down for a second, then back up, "And a far better method to releasing my rage then what I did before."

    "So, you're sane now?" Paz asks, taking a half step back as the man sits up and coming to something near a fighting stance she learned in Basic. "Or do I see if Doc Raine's got a spare rubber room?"

    "Uh, sane…uh yeah…well was I ever not sane?" Iceblade says this with a rather quizzical look.

    "About the time you started kicking the shit out of the stuffed animal, then started giggling your head off about it." Paz replies, arcing up an eyebrow quizzically. "I mean, me, I get that pissed off, I either pick a fight with somebody or just get drunk and listen to Black Sabbath."

    "Ah oh that," Iceblade says before giving a quick chuckle. "Well, I guess you now know why I don't drink much…I kind of lose control and anything cat-like around me tends to die as a result."

    "Yeah, I see," Paz replies simply, bobbing her head. "Do I need to worry about you?" she asks, colorlessly. "Because if I do, your ass is on the first thing smoking back to where ever you came from. I've got real pull with the WinCo," she states flatly. "We lost tonight, Iceblade. We're going to lose again," she continues with a sigh. "Not saying you oughta like it, but if it's going to drive you this crazy, you need to find another squadron. There's _crazy_, and there's _psychotic_. What you just showed me was more the latter."

    Then Iceblade adds before responding, "Well, today was a little different than usual." Phillip's mood gets a little more somber. "The events of the last few days have really hit me too close to home. I was always very close to my brothers and finding out I nearly lost my other brother just pushed me to the edge. Getting drunk threw me off it." Iceblade concludes, "The war just got to me is all." Iceblade then perks up a bit with a slight grin and responds jokingly with a few sporadic chuckles, "I should be perfectly fine as long as you keep me from getting drunk."

    "Okay…so, what's the deal here?" Paz asks simply. "I don't have time to draw some big story outta you bit by bit, so just tell me now," she adds firmly. "Because, right now, I'm not sure if I wanna be in the same airspace as you."

    Iceblade sighs and looks down before responding in a more serious tone, "The near loss of one brother you know about, but I suppose you will want more. Well years ago, I had another brother who actually was killed by the Kilrathi." Iceblade now looks up at Paz, "Ah you might want to sit down for this, it's not a quick story." Iceblade then sits up fully and crosses his legs Indian-style.

    Paz gives a little bob of her head and settles down opposite the man, assuming the same cross-legged position as he. "Okay….I'm listening."

    "Well, about 6 years ago to the day almost, my older brother was serving in the TCN onboard an Exeter class destroyer. His first assignment, in fact, and he had just graduated from officer school." Iceblade gives a sigh and brings his hand to his head after tilting his head down a little. "It…well..it was dest.." another sigh.

    "The Fuzzy Wuzzies destroyed it." Paz replies, frowning a little and nodding. "And your brother was….KIA?" she asks, again with a note of something approaching compassion in her tone. God knows, she's lost enough of her loved ones to the bastards.

    Iceblade responds, "Yes, but the ship was actually patrolling an out of the way system in Vega when the Kilrathi attacked. It and the system didn't stand a chance from it. Shortly after we received news of the loss of the people there, we heard about Michael's fate. They…they..they said that the ship was destroyed with no escape pods detected or so the /official/ information goes."

    "Ah…" Paz breathes, nodding faintly as the last pieces of the puzzle fall into place. "You thought Michael was aboard that ship." she says. "And if we could catch her, you could get him back."

    Iceblade gives another sigh, "No, the actual events are far more definite and gruesome. I later found out that the ship was not destroyed but obliterated with all escape pods intact. However, what they found inside was…was.." Iceblade just looks down, unable to explain in words what was found there.

    "Was?" Paz prompts gently, scooting a little closer to Phillip until she's able to reach her arm out and _almost_ touch his shoulder….or punch him square in his potentially psychotic, vengeance-driven jaw…..which ever…

    Iceblade just whispers one word, "Butchered."

    Paz doesn't reply audibly, not at first, just scoots closer until her hand finds Phillip's shoulder and gives it a very gentle squeeze.

    "I…I found this last bit of information when my brother returned on leave. My parents still don't know this, but I probably took it worse than they would have. I just…I lost it. I mopped around and cried, it was just too much. Then I went out one night, got drunk, and when I was walking home, I heard somethi…" Iceblade stops unsure if he really should release this next piece of information.

    Paz nods and squeezes again. "I'm listening." she replies quietly.

    "I uh…well I heard a meow. It was cat…a dirty, flea-bitten cat in a side alley." Iceblade says with a slight tinge of rage towards the end. He pauses to calm himself. "I, well, was very drunk, but in that fog, my mind just latched on the sound. I followed it and found this cat, but it looked far meaner and far more Kilrathi like than it really was. I…well I…" Iceblade pauses to choice his words carefully. "Well I killed it."

    "I see." Paz says, giving another squeeze to Phillip's shoulder. "I'm going to tell you something, and you're not gonna wanna listen to me because, well, you're still in mourning," she sighs, voice trailing off as her eyes start to well with a few unshed tears. "_Everybody_ in this squadron has lost somebody close to them," she says, giving another squeeze, but firmer, less reassuring and more informative. "Jolly…our last CO…he was like a father to me.." she continues, gulping down a sob before it can sound. "He died on a CAP and I didn't find out about it until eight hours after the fact," she continues, face settling into a grim mask. "I was the one who had to send word to his wife…" she adds, before catching her breath again, throat working convulsively. "She was like our dorm mother or something," she chuckles, shaking her head sadly. "And I got to tell her that her husband was _dead_," she finishes, voice taking on a flat, iron tone.

    Iceblade nods and returns the squeeze. "I can't imagine what that must have been like. But for me, the loss was more profound, My…well my behavior changed after that night, I became more closed off. To most, it seemed as if I had moved on, or was just putting on a brave face. Always putting on a smile or just remaining emotionally balanced. Those that knew me, though, could tell I had erected a barrier. Biggest change came when I altered my career drastically." Iceblade looks to Paz, somewhat askance and a little less somber, "I bet you never realized that I wanted to be anything but a pilot, but I did. I was actually going to be a chemist. Do research and not even in biowarfare."

    "Heh, you mean like passing out rubbers and shit?""

    Iceblade looks a little confused, "huh? no from where I'm from Chemists are individuals who do work in the field of Chemistry from BSs to PhDs are all chemists." Iceblade then finishes up his life's story, "Anyway, in one year's time, I finished my degree, but I also prepared myself mentally and physically to join the TCSF to kill Kats. Before, I could care less about the Kilrathi, now my life's ambition to see Kilrah obliterated." Iceblade ends with some tinges of anger (though not rage) and it is more for effect than felt emotion.

    "Hee, yeah I am really tired too… and I feel oddly sober, I think I sweated the rest of the alcohol." Iceblade then gets up and joins Paz out of the gym to return to the Powderkeg.
     
  11. Iceblade

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    Dorkir? I hardly knew 'er!

    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2658.140

    Space is big, space is dark, you still can't find a place to park. Thankfully, finding a Kilrathi convoy is another matter entirely. Which probably explains why there are three fighters making their way along towards a lovely designated point out in the middle of nowhere. After all, if the Kilrathi are bringing in transports, that means they plan on being here for the long haul. And that is not good news.

    «Alright, we're coming up on the coordinates the patrol flight relayed. Should be somewhere around here » Cole explains to his wing, the bare silver durasteel of his Broadsword reflecting the distant light of Junction's star. « Remember, we're after the transports. If they've got heavy escort that looks like it's going to be a problem, I'll pop 'em. But for you two, the transports are our priority. »

    «Copy that, Lead. Keeping my eyes and ears open for them.» Kanani states as her attention turns towards her scanners, seeing what tale they might tell her.

    «Roger Lead, Iceblade out.» Iceblade confirms his orders as he maintains formation with the 'sword and Stiletto.

    And sure enough, waiting at the projected position are a half-dozen Kilrathi transports, escorted by a pair of Kamekh corvettes and a small contingent of fighters. Apparently, the Kilrathi weren't taking any chances with this bunch. The powerful sensors of the Corvettes spot the incoming Confederation craft quickly enough, four escort fighters breaking away from the convoy and closing in on the Confederation ships.

    « Heads up Tsunami, Iceblade. Looks like we've got company. Remember, we're not here to stick around and dogfight. Straight through the escorts, then get on those transports! » Cole orders. He doesn't exactly charge in, but then… broadswords really aren't the sort of thing to go racing in anywhere.

    «I see them, Voodoo. Going after the transports, now.» Kanani states as her Stiletto does in fact charge in, trying to do some damage quickly, as her fighter starts to speed up.

    Iceblade quickly comms, «Roger that lead, burning start at the transports.» Iceblade then starts punching his burners and readys his IR missiles.'

    «Lead, Tizona, copy that. Going to guns.» Paz replies tersely as she jukes her Rapier into position to make a strafing run on one of the Dralthi.

    The distance between the two wings of fighters rapidly closes, the Dralthi screaming in on afterburner to engage the Confederation craft as far out as possible… the Kilrathi transports moving to turn away from the fight, to put a little extra space between themselves and the oncoming assault. One of the two Kamekh turns in as well, lumbering to the rear of the convoy, placing itself between the Confederation fighters and the vulnerable transport craft.

    « Remember, we're not here for the Dralthi. » Cole reminds the wing. « Straight through 'em, and on to the important targets » he adds, idly toggling his selector switch to missiles and pointing his nose straight for the lead Dralthi. He'll teach the Kilrathi to play chicken with a Broadsword.

    «Copy, that. Just gonna say hello on the way past.» Kanani states as her mass drivers open up on the fighter headed in her direction.

    Seeing the Dralthi bearing for them, Iceblade quickly switches to FoF and begins evading the incoming shots from one of the Dralthi while still attempting to barrel past it. «Roger Lead, pushing through the fighter screen.»

    «Copy that, Lead. Lemme just give Mi pequeo amigo a kiss on the way in.» Paz grins malevolently, lining up the pipper on the incoming Dralthi's cockpit and squeezing the trigger.

    The two wings of fighters streak past each other, exchanging a volley of weapons fire… pieces shed on both ends of the fight, though everything seems to survive intact. The closing Confederation fighters continue to gain on the retreating convoy… even as the nearer corvette's flak batteries reach out toward the Confederation craft. The far corvette turns in as well, slowly moving into position to bring its guns to bear.

    « Get on those 'sports » Cole calls, turning his broadsword in towards the Kamekh. « I'm gonna drop this Corvette, before it's the death of us all » he informs them simply, flicking his selector switch to torpedo and beginning a run in at the Kilrathi warship.

    As Iceblade's Rapier flys past the Dralthis, his FF missile makes contact with one gunning for him. Looking back briefly however, Iceblade notices that the Dralthi seems mostly unaffected by the hit. Iceblade now focuses his next FF on one of the transports as he evades his way past the corvettes whose flak ring his ship just got in range of. «God, I hate corvettes in the simulator, but I bet these are far worse.»

    "Dammit, you little shitstain." Paz growls as the Dralthi's guns reach out and give her wing the kind of tender caress that only machine guns can give. Quickly, she checks her status board and, satisfied that she's not about to blow up, she goes for for her Image Recognition missiles, aiming them square at the first transport's massive engines before her threat recievers light up like a Christmas tree as the first of the big escorts targets her. "Dammit!" she growls and flings her Rapier into a series of wild, evasive gyrations.

    Kanani makes her speedy way past the attacking Dralthi, and heads towards one of the Transports, switching to missiles as she makes her approach. «Copy that Voodoo. Good luck.» Shortly after those words, she launches her missile, and states. «Fox Two!»

    To say the second exchange of fire is more eventful than the first might be the understatement of the year. A torpedo slams into the bridge of the lead Kamekh, tearing an ugly crater in the corvette's hull… though somehow, the craft manages to keep flying. The Kilrathi fighters swarming Cole's bomber miss, and off in the distance one of the transports explodes as Kanani's missile screams into its engines. It's not all good news for the Confederation, however, as surprisingly accurate fire from one of the transports explodes immediately in front of Paz' cockpit.

    « Coming around. Seems I've picked up a couple friends » Cole comments, his broadsword weaving its way through the four Dralthi behind it, moving in for a second attack run on the wounded corvette. Not about to let it get away from him this time.

    Iceblade manuevers through the flak almost like swam and remains completely unsctrached, unfortunately his FF was blown to bits by the flak seconds after launching. «Blast, switching to IR,» Iceblade comms as he flys past his transport. As he comes about, he sees another transport explode from weapon's fire and a well placed missile by a little Stiletto. «Hey, nice shot Tsuanmi,» Iceblade comms as he begins to barrel down on his own transport again, this time launching an Imrec.

    «Oh yeah. That's how you missiles are supposed to work.» Kanani states as the Transport she was firing on, explodes all nice and pretty like. As she manuvers around for a shot on another transport, she notices the hits that Paz takes and takes a second to radio. «Tizona, Tsunami. Are you alright there?» She queries, before she makes her second run. «Fox two, once again.»

    It's funny, the little part of Paz's mind that's still calm and collected while her Rapier's cockpit seems disintegrate around her, how suddenly shit can just go _wrong_. Spitting out flares and chaff bundles to try and blind the transport's lock-on, the young Latina fireball made an almost textbook approach, fully confident of putting her Image Rec missile right into the center engine bell of the big transports. And then, well, as the man said, shit just _happened_. Suddenly, her cockpit is riddled with holes as a flak burst goes off right in front of her. Two needles of fire lace through her neck, which quickly begins to bleed copiously. The attack completely knocks her avionics package out and leaves her tumbling ass over tea kettle while she frantically struggles with the controls with one hand and her on board first aid kit with the other.

    For those keeping score at home, the answer to 'how many torpedoes does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a Kamekh' is, for today, apparently two. The Corvette explodes in a shower of durasteel, but not before its gunners rip a few ugly chunks from the front end of Cole's broadsword. A second transport detonates in a flash, this one hit by Phillip's missile. Somehow, in all the insanity, Paz' battered Rapier is spared.

    « One down. Moving in on the other » Cole comments simply as he swings his broadsword's damaged front end around towards the second of the Kilrathi escorts. « See if I can take this one out before this gets ugly. Tizona, return to base. You're not doing anyone any favors by staying out and getting killed »

    «Nice shooting, Iceblade and Voodoo, you guys still doing alright?» Kanani asks over the comms as she tries to finish off the transport she failed to put away with her previous missile. As she tries to avoid all the flak headed her way, she releases her final heat seeker stating, «Fox two, and that's the last of my missiles, lead.»

    Nothing prevents effective communication more than a mouthful of blood. Paz discovers this as she copies Cole's transmission and attempts to speak, the aforementioned substance oozing out of her mouth at what feels is a rather alarming rate. Quickly, or as quickly as she can what with both the pain of her injuries and the attendant shock starting to kick in, Paz pulls her Rapier into a painfully lazy arc and makes for the jump point. Repeat after the Paz, 'Our Father, Who Art in Heaven…'…

    As Iceblade goes in for the transport's engines, the Rapier's shields falter, and Iceblade has to make a few last-second dodges to avoid serious damage but it throws off his shot for the engines. «Fox one, you fucking Kat» Iceblade comms as quickly launches his missile, which heads straight for the side of the transport. The missile causes serious damage and multiple secondary explosions as Phillip flys over it. Iceblade glances back to see one final and brillant flash as the transport is erradicated from existance. «That one's for Michael, you fithly flea bags.» Unfortunately, just the past the transport is the flak ring of the corvette, last minute evading saves Iceblade from serious damage, but Iceblade still takes some nasty hits. Lucky for Ice, the flak soon stops with a nice torpedo hit by Cole. «Nice shot, Lead.» Iceblade comms as pulls his fighter around for a run at another transport. «Say goodnight kitty.» Iceblade taunts with an evil grin.

    And suddenly, things start to go all sorts of ugly for the Confederation fighters… a multitude of shots scoring impacts across the various craft, with little to show for the Confed side of the party.

    « All craft, return to base » Cole orders the flight. « Break and return. We've done what we can here. » Cole orders, swinging his battered broadsword around for a run to get that last torpedo of his in. « I'll keep them distracted. »

    Behold, the power of prayer! Paz's silent incantations to her Heavenly Father seem to result in her escaping the last barrage by the other secort unscathed. Of course, now she's got a whole new series of problems to deal with. Like how to put her bird back on the Majestic while semi-conscious and unable to communicate with flight control. Some days just keep improving.

    «Roger, that Voodoo.» Kanani states somewhat more calmly than she probably should be, at the moment, with her fighter just getting shot up a bit. She sees a juicy damaged transport nearby, but elects to follow orders instead. Pulling her Stiletto out of the fight, and hitting the burners. «Don't get yourself shot up sir.»

    Iceblade takes some more flak as he barrels at the next transport. He's his second imrec, which succesfully hits the 'sport but not enought to kill hit. «Damn you kitty.» Iceblade pulls a tight turn and begins to ready his last FF to finish the transport off, but he hears the RTB orders. Iceblade turns his bird upwards and begins an all out burn right past the transport. He goes evasion as he comes into the flak range of the second corvette.

    Once fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish… or in this case, it's the highly explosive sort of fish that slams into the Kilrathi corvette, splitting it rather neatly in half. If such a thing can really be called 'neat'.

    « Take that, you bastards » Cole grumbles into his helmet, bringing his broadsword around… spotting that crippled transport. Is this the point where he really /should/ withdraw? Absolutely. But, apparently some temptations are just too much to pass up… and there really isn't a reason to leave the kittens with another, is there? Which is why, his torpedoes expended, Cole toggles his last missile and lobs it over. So much for discretion being the better part of valor.

    «I'm clear, I think.» Kanani states as the high powered engines of the Stiletto fling her out of the range of the cat's weapons, at speeds approaching R17. Once she's put some distance between her and the guns, she throttles down enough, to stick with Phillip's Rapier, and wait's for the fearless leader of this mission to get back as well.

    As Iceblade reaches his wing and is nearly out of the combat zone, he looks back to see Cole wax the corvette, but instead of rejoining, he turns on the severely damaged transport. A debate now rages inside him, return and help Cole fend off the Dralthi and potently end up with both of them dead or stay with his wing and escort his damaged friends home. He decides, «Lead, this is Ice. I understand what you are doing sir, and I wish you the best of luck. If Kanani were in better shape, I'd be right there with you keeping those Dralthi off your back, but Tiz and Tsunami are too banged and need an escort back to base. Don't stay out too long, sir. Iceblade out.» Iceblade cuts the link.

    It would have been a great plan, if only the missile had hit the target. As it is, the situation turns instead to Cole's Broadsword frantically maneuvering between shots from four dralthi and a transport's flak turret, the friend or foe missile flying horribly wide of its target.

    « Right, mates » Cole comments over open comms, speaking to the Kilrathi it seems. « Been a lovely game, but I'm getting tired of playing. My best to the Emperor. Tell him I'll see him soon. » he adds with an amused chuckle, finally turning his broadsword away from the convoy. He'll have to be content with the damage that he's done.

    And well, luck had to run out sooner or later. Four missiles explode in close proximity to the fleeing Broadsword, sending a shower of fragments through the craft. Leaving it probably easier to pick out the pieces that aren't hit than the ones that are. His comms flick on a mess of static for a moment, before clearing into at least an only moderately fuzzy image of a wincing Captain. « Voodoo's hit. But, still in one piece » Cole comments as what's left of his broadsword limps its way away from the convoy. « My long range comms are shot. Call back to the carrier, and see if we can't get a second strike out here »

    «Jeeze, you alright, there Voodoo? And hold on a sec, I'll take care of it.» Kanani comments before she starts to fiddle with her radio, and sends a call towards the Majestic. «Control, this is Tsunami. Our strike didn't go quite as well as planned, so if you could send out another team to finish them off, it'd be helpful. Both their big escorts are gone though, and one of the 'sports is nearly dead.» She pauses for a moment, before finishing, «Four slightly banged up Dralthi are with them, too.» She figures the more info the Boat has, the better they'll finish things off.

    Phillip sees the carnage as 4 Dralthi lay into Cole with a heatseeker apiece. Each ripping the Pigsword apart faster than pork at a Weight Watchers convention. As Cole pulls his fighter back into formation, Iceblade comms, «Geez sir, that was a very bad idea. You really are insane.» Iceblade then directs his comm over to the Lead position fighter flown by Kanani, «Oh Tsunami, how are your comms? Do you want to radio this in or shall I?»

    Being unable to reply and just barely conscious enough to maintain anything approaching proper flight attitude, Paz struggles as she triggers the remainder of her flares to signal SOS.

    It might be a good sign just how badly things have gone inside the cockpit of that broadsword, when the response that comes from Cole's fighter is the somewhat less than professional analysis of « Kanani, I look like shit and feel worse ». Things hurt a whole lot more once the adrenaline starts to wear off.

    «Say Tsu, can you see into Tiz's cockpit? How bad off is she, I'm getting no response.» Iceblade comms to the lead fighter.

    «I think you're going to need to get used to hospital food for a while, from the way it sounds, sir.» Kanani comments, shaking her head and trying not to add any more dumb comments. Her fighter rolls around to get a better look at Paz's ship, and she answers Phil's question as best she can. «Not sure, but doesn't look very good. The cockpit's got a bunch of little holes that I can see, but I'm not totally sure if she's conscious or out of it at the moment.»

    Phillip lands his fighter, quickly exits as fast as is possible and lets the tech crews quickly move it out of the way, so that the deck is clear for Paz to land. Phillip looks on and watches as out of the way as possible.

    How do you land a broadsword that's absorbed four heat seekers, two mass driver volleys, and a scattering of flak? Very much in the same way you land a brick. You drop it and hope for the best. Which probably explains the ungaindly thud-thud-thunk sort of landing that comes from Cole's bomber landing on its belly, scraping across the flight deck with the most lovely metal-on-metal squealing sound.

    Rapier 1087FS-6 comes screaming onto the deck, bobbing, weaving, waggling and basically misbehaving as it's severely wounded pilot attempts to put her bird down on friendly steel. Control radios corrections to her, and the pilot makes the best corrections she can before her bird tries to trap, skidding mightily amid a shower of sparks as it bolters at the last moment. The bird's engines begin to srcream in protest as they're thrown into full reverse, bringing the fighter down within less than a meter of the barrier. As for it's pilot, Paz simply slumps forward in her cockpit as she fumbles for the shutdown switches, finally passing out.

    Weiss is standing on top of one of the cherry-picker carts, tablet in hand, radio on and cigar in his mouth. He is directing the crews from on high, yelling at them to get their asses into gear. "Move it you good for nuthing sons of bitches! Go go go!"

    Phillip watches as the others land and then helps Cole on his way up to the Med bay.

    Kanani finds someplace more or less out of the way of all the activity on the recovery deck, so that she can fill out all of her paperwork, without getting in the way of the crews doing the real work. Lacking a handy table to do the writing on, she just uses one of the walls to write on, instead, shrugging slightly as she does so.

    Weiss flips the lever, lowering his playorm to the floor. He slips over the railing and, grabbing his cane, limps across the bar as fighters are being moved around. "Fuck. Looks like Paz is pass out. AGAIN!" he fumes. "Kanani! Get zat sveet ass over here and help. Doctor is held up! Just check on her!" he says as he taps his earphone. "Ja ja.. Zis is Recovery Deck.. Look like one of pilots is a bleeder.. Hurry up!" he says into his microphone

    Kanani drops the paperwork at the shout from the Chief, and runs over towards Paz's fighter, to try and help her out, if she can.
     
  12. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Brief Visit To Medbay

    Medical Bay
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2658.141

    Cole, apparently, doesn't do so well as the idle sort… which might well explain why he's absconded with a datapad, typing away at it as he rests in his bed. Sure every so often he manages to move in a way that makes himself wince, and the typing he's doing is all hunt-and-peck with just his left hand. But apparently, he's not willing to be out of things entirely just yet.

    Poor Cole. Raine is hovering about her domain. Mercifully, she's tolerant of such absconding sorts. The bonsai enters Cole's room first. Its leafy gaze is upon the not resting sinner! Rustling judgment! Raine follows after and pauses, noticing a wince. "Hello there sir, did you decide to come back already?" She asks quietly, peering at Cole. "How are you feeling?" She notices the datapad, but says nothing of it for now. She's quiet, but friendly at least.

    Cole looks up from his work, such as it is, to offer Raine a little smile. "Like shit" Cole replies tactlessly, before he gives a little chuckle… and immediately wishes he hadn't. Those pieces of broadsword-interior that had to be removed from his chest apparently make it a painful proposition. "How're you, Doc?"

    Raine smiles back then frowns. "I'm sorry. I can give you some light painkillers, if you like. Well, let me see your chart first actually-" She moves in and reaches for it to see who dosed poor Cole up last. She doesn't seem to mind the lack of tact. "I'm well enough, though I'm always sad when you guys come to me hurt. At least you got yourself a datapad."

    Cole gives a little shake of his head at Raine's comments. "Don't worry about me, sure there are people here who need it far worse than me" Cole comments, before adding. "My own damn fault, really. Shouldn't have turned back in for that last transport. As for the datapad, well…" he lifts it to briefly show its contents: the action report for how he ended up here. "Paperwork waits for no man"

    Sigh. Raine smiles at him, "We're not really short on them, so it's okay. I'd rather you be comfortable and resting," She offers. A shrug at that. She won't force it on him at least. "These things happen. And I suppose that's true, just don't work too hard, alright?" She looks over the poor pilot and nods again. "Miss Paz made it here too, safely at least."

    "What happened to her?" Cole wonders, having not exactly been in the best condition to keep an eye on her extraction. "Saw a flak burst go off right in front of her cockpit, and didn't get any communications after. Assumed it was probably bad, but… a hit like that knocking out comms isn't unusual either"

    "She was hit with some flak. Her cockpit was that is," Raine replies. Her voice is quiet, solemn. "She's alive, but pretty dinged up. You can visit her if you like when she wakes up. I was coming to see if you were fit for light duty just yet," The doctor admits and sets her tree on the night stand. "Since pilots rarely handle captivity well."

    "I'll make sure to see her when she's awake then. And I see how it is" Cole replies with a smile growing on his face at the second part. "Slap a bandage on me and kick me out the door for the next poor bastard that comes along" Cole comments, seeming more amused than anything. "So what's the word, Doc. Am I going to become part of the pilot catch-and-release program?"

    "Sure thing," Raine smiles at Cole then laughs softly, "I'm sorry. I like your company very much, but judging by the datapad… I doubt you enjoy just sitting here much. Birds like to fly, pilots do too," She admits with a blush. "And yes, yes you are. We even put the traps out in the hall." Wink. "I like talking to you, but I hate meeting up this way."

    "I'd always wondered about those. Truth be told, I just thought they were to keep the marines out" Cole comments, giving Raine a little grin. "And trust me, I'm going to do my best to avoid coming back this way if I can help it" Cole explains. "Safer to get company and conversation with drinks instead of bandages"

    Raine listens and laughs softly. She smiles. "That they are. We tend to get those guys in droves whenever we have ground action," She wrinkles her nose. "Though you do get flowers and cards?" She offers. She seems happy he's in good spirits. "I am glad. I like to see you guys - but not here," She shakes her head. Such is the pain of her job. Important, but unpleasant. "If nothing else, I can bring you some ice or heat to help the pain a bit."

    "Speaking of" Cole comments, looking thoughtful for a moment. And not quite explaining speaking of /what/. "Lieutenant Nawahi isn't among your guests here at the moment, is she?" Cole asks. "I know her fighter took a few hits last night, and there's not much to those Stilettos"

    A pause. Raine is wracking her brain at the speed of BONSAI. She shakes her head. "If she did, it was for a bandaid at worst. She's not here now at least," Raine replies. Hopefully that will offer some comfort. "And no, there really isn't," She frowns. "I don't know that I'd ever want to fly one of those." Raine prefers to plod along happy - with armor.

    "Thank god" Cole replies, giving a little bit of a relieved smile. "And you didn't do too badly in that broadsword in the simulation, really" Cole comments, before he gives a little grin. "Though I still think I'd rather see you on this end of things. You might be able to do my job, but there's no way I could do yours" he jokes.

    A nod. Raine smiles too. "I'm glad, she's kind. And ah? Thanks." She laughs. "That was kind of scary, I was worried about backing into things," She admits. "I felt like I did when I first learned to drive. I stalled my car and had to get someone help me to start it," SHe blushes, embarrassed. "And I think I am happier here anyway. It's quiet most of the time and the only thing that will run me over is a gurney." A shrug. The prospect of dodging missiles is terrifying. "Besides, it has to be tough being a Captain sometimes."

    "Yeah, she's…" Cole starts to reply, pausing there. "Well, let's not go there" he decides with a little bit of a chuckle. "At any rate, if I'm going to get kicked out of here, I suppose I'd best get moving on. If you've got traps to bring us in, I shudder to think how you'd get us back out"

    Headtilt. "You're not being kicked out. Actually, you can and should stay here as much as you can," Raine smiles at Cole, "But I know you're as thrilled at the idea of staying here as you are being hit in the groin with a stapler a few times." That is to say, most pilots don't want to stick in here. "And oh, we just use a trebuchet. It's very time saving." Grin.

    Cole gives Raine a little bit of a smile at that. "Careful, Doctor. I fly around with four nuclear warheads strapped to the underside of my fighter. I think I outgun your trebuchet" he teases, relaxing back in his bed a little.

    Raine's eyes widen a little. "Well, that's ok. We'll just launch Marines in pointy helmets," She nods sagely. She is blushing a bit but enjoying the humor and smiling. "I wouldn't do that. It just means you're free to go around the ship if you like, but I'm glad when you're resting here," She nods. Means they get better faster. "Besides, I think Paz'd be mad if you just bailed without saying hi. The bonsais are okay with you too." Beam.

    "Well, if the trees are alright with it, who am I to say no?" Cole comments with a little chuckle… followed by a wince. He sinks down a little further in his beat, before smiling at Raine and adding. "Now, if you'll forgive me… since I'm not being kicked out, I'm going to close my eyes and try to pretend that everything except my face doesn't hurt," he tells her, only half in jest.

    "You're still welcome to painkillers, if you wish," though Raine accepts that not everyone is comfortable with medication. She smiles at Cole and will dim the room's lights for him. "Alright. Be well then, and sleep tight." She will head out and let poor Cole sleep if he doesn't wish any medication. The bonsai is scooped up.

    Phillip enters the Med bay and begins heading towards Cole's area but holds back as it looks like Cole is going into sleepy time. He just waves at Raine as she leaves Cole.

    Raine and her tree are leaving poor Cole to sleep. She thoughtfully half closes the door so light doesn't bother the captain. She pauses, noticing Phillip and looks to him. She smiles politely, "Hello there. May I help you?"

    Iceblade responds, "Yes actually, I came down to find out how Cole and Paz are doing after last night's run in with the Kats?"

    Raine looks over her shoulder, "Well, your Captain is resting. He'll heal for sure. He's on light duty for now." She smiles. "I am afraid Paz is hurt pretty badly - her neck was injured a lot," She explains, "She's resting now and probably won't be able to talk much for awhile. I am sorry. You came in when everyone is napping. But you're welcome to talk a bit."

    Phillip nods his head looking a bit less concerned after finding out Paz's condition. He then begins to look around for a certain nurse but doesn't see her. He then turns his head towards Raine, "Say, Sandra wouldn't happen to be working she is?"

    Blink. Raine smiles. Oh. "Well, she's around here, I think she's in with a patient. You're welcome to some tea or coffee and to hang out in the waiting room if you like," The doctor offers. "She seems happier when you come by." Obliviousville: Population - Raine.

    "Ah," Phillip nods. "Okay, well I'll wait. She's probably just finishing up, I imagine." Phillip then sits down and waits wearing rather different dress than usual. Instead of his uniform, he is wearing rather nice clothes: button down white shirt and khaki pants with black hard leather shoes.

    "Yeah, I think her shift is ending. You're all dressed up," Her eyebrows lift. Raine seems boggled. But she shrugs and lets it go. Either way, their waiting room is nice and pleasant. Quiet. Eventually, Phillip's dear Nurse will arrive. Raine herself will wander off, and it's not too long. She pauses. "Everyone looks nice today." Huh. A shrug and a smile.

    Phillip after what seems like ages but is actually only 5 minutes, Phillip looks up to see Nurse Sandra and gets up. After a minute of whispered conversation between the two, they both leave. Probably headed back to her room, so she can get changed real quick. Judging by the looks on both of their faces, this evening will turn out to be wondrous. Let's hope that no Kats decide to spoil it either during or after the date.

    Awwww. So cute! Raine is finally catching on. Her eyes are wide seeing the two leave. But she beams and smiles, she's sure the tree would too. "Okay, I think we can give her later off if she likes…" She whispers to the tree and heads off into her office.
     
  13. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Junction Recon

    Briefing Room on Deck 12
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2659.141

    Set above the ready line, this sizable room serves as a briefing area for the Majestic's air wing. Stadium-style seating in five rows provides space for sixty pilots or other flight crew. At the front of the room, a lectern with the Confederation logo stands on a raised platform for presentations, with a trio of chairs located behind it. A large vidscreen is set into the wall, for projecting mission flight paths or other critical information. The side walls are decorated with the insignia of the squadrons operating off of the Majestic.

    It has been a long bleeding few weeks in Junction, and Pip looks like it, leaning heavily on the podium, sipping from a steaming cup of tea, and waiting for his pilots to file in. A cigarette burns in an ashtray before him…one that has gone unemptied between briefings…and is stuffed with butts. While the other pilots have all had time to unwind, and rest between seemingly endless patrols, not to mention the combat missions….he is stuck in a constant cycle of flight, paperwork, plugging holes, and plotting missions. And the other pilots would realize…he hasn't cut down on his flying hours from squadron days, despite the additional workload. A glowing map of Junction lights up the vidscreen behind the Englishman.

    Kanani slides into a seat and then turns her attention towards the podium as well as the map that's currently up on the vidscreen, waiting to see what today's mission is likely to be about.

    Phillip walks in and quietly sits down at his usual seat in the 1087th squadron area. He looks up at the haggard Jenthson, and then looks at the map to get an idea of what mission is ahead.

    Having just fully recovered and cleared to be put back on the active flight roster, Kell joins the other pilots in the briefing room, finding an empty seat without much fanfare as he waits for the main briefing to begin. His eyes does take a look around the room, checking to see who's here and who's not, and perhaps any new faces.

    It isn't a particularly large group for this patrol, but it does appear to be almost everyone, as Pip folds his arms, and scans the seats. "Aside from one lollygagging bugger, I suppose is the sorry lot of you. Let's see what torture I've planned for you, today." And, the WinCO's mood is clearly even more scathing than usual….he clicks his pointer(old-school, and wooden) against the vidscreen with an audible *crack*. "It -appears- to be a standard patrol, obviously. Three nav points, a routine pattern." A pause, and then he taps the triangle that makes up the void between the three. "We know that the Kilrathi Battlegroup is somewhere in the void between the navpoints, and as such, if we do locate them, we will try to get a good picture of their force composition…without stirring up a fucking hornet's nest. We need to be -subtle-, people."

    Phillip just listens only nodding at mention of subtle.

    Trey skulks in the relative dark. The lighting in the briefing room is a dingy red. Not great for seeing anything but whoever's at the podium, and the screen in the front. He peers about, somewhat out of breath, and then waits for his time to strike, relatively speaking. When heads are looking one way, he takes his first crouched step. And then one after that. And after that. He's heading, of course, for the back of the room.

    Kanani keeps her attention on the WinCo, as well as the map, as the briefing starts up. She stays quiet as she listens to Pip talking, and she nods at a few points as the briefing goes on.

    And, it would appear that Pip did not notice a certain skulking Minuteman, as he makes way into the briefing room. "Very well. We're flying fast, and light. Rapiers and Stils. We'll not being taking bomber, or capital ship support. If we run into Kilrathi fighters, or freighters, we bounce them. Capitals, and we bug-out." Eyes shift around the room, and he taps the pointer against the flat of his palm…"Questions, comments, compliments?"

    Kanani doesn't seem to have any questions, since it seems like a fairly simple mission objective. Too bad that simple don't always mean easy, though. She looks around the briefing room, to see if any of the other pilots have any comments or anything, though.

    Trey raises his hand from the back of the room, as though he's been here from the start.

    Phillip just gives a quick shake of his head to the negative.

    The mission seems simple enough to Kell, except the fact that their patrols tend to be as subtle as a large elephant in a room dressed up in a pink tutu. However, this the Lieutenant keeps to himself as he merely nods at the objectives, giving the other pilots a glance again.

    The raised hand has Pip pointing at Trey with an emphatic thrust of his pointer. "So you -are- here. Interesting. I've been working on the flight plan…" A point to the small desk in the room's front corner…"For the last hour, and never saw you step foot into the room." A sigh, and a shake of head…"Flash Rogue of a bastard, you are." Pointer is stowed beneath the lectern, and he makes a gesture with his hand, as if asking for the question from Trey.

    Kanani raises an eyebrow slightly, as she notices the raised hand from the Minuteman pilot, and waits to hear what sort of question he might have.

    Trey's eyes instinctively size up the approximate distance from here to the exit. That the next thing he does is evaluate the positioning of all the chairs, podiums, and other things for their usefulness in a sudden firefight or brawl is, of course, a matter of pure instinct and not because he feels he needs to. He does this without turning his head. "I've been here, sir." Really. "I just wanted to know if there were better than normal odds of hitting a capital class ship."

    Phillip's eyes shoot open at the question and attempts to keep from snickering, barely succeeding.

    "Unless we are dragging some bombers along, hopefully not. Or we'd just be flying target practice for the damn Kitty gunners." Kell says with a slight shake of his head, not enjoying the possible prospect of being turned into chow by rows of Heavy Flak Cannons. Not to mention his rather bad experience in a Broadsword in his most recent mission.

    "Well, lad. If you'd been listening, you would have recollection that I explained that we're trying to make -some- sort of contact with the Kilrathi main battlegroup, and as such…chances are better than average." A pause…."I was unaware that women shat potatoes, all eyes and no ears, in lieu of children capable of following a line of thought for more than thirty seconds." And, his mood continues to improve, clearly. "We're strictly recon, folks. Bringing Broadswords along is just going to accelerate the tempo of conflict in-system before we're prepared. We're a simple little patrol, nothing for the Kilrathi to bat a whisker at." A final look around the room…"Now, if that is all….head for the flight deck, and please don't move too fast. I'm an old man, and don't feel like trying to keep up with a pack of snot-nosed striplings that fell screaming from their mothers' while I was cutting my teeth on combat." He is on a birthing kick in his rants, now.

    At that, Phillip has to stifle more chuckling with some coughs. "Excuse me," he says as he gets up to move with the rest of the flight down to the readyline.

    Kanani smirks faintly as she listens to the Wing Commander, and then stands up and starts to head towards the flight deck once the order is given to move.

    "Yes, sir." Trey blushes faintly, and stands, then makes his way towards the Wing Commander. "Hey, uh… you know, after this mission? I know you're dignified and all, sir, but… see, I bought a hundred and fifty yo-yos a few weeks ago." Pay no attention to why the man bought 150 yo-yos. Please. At least, his demeanor isn't implying there's anything abnormal about this -at all-. "And that was a bit more than I really needed, so I traded them away and there's this guy. He's got a line on some…" The man lowers his voice and whispers as if he's revealing state secrets: "Hot Girl On Girl Action." He leans away again, "Was wondering if you wanted in on some of the goods."

    Rising to his feet as they are ordered to report to the flight deck, Kell gives the Wing Commander one final nod before turning to head down to their fighters with the rest of the pilots. He does catch sight of Trey and Jenthson exchanging some sort of brief yet secretive conversation but is too far to hear what it is. He only arches a brow before heading outside.

    There is a moment of silence, as Pip listens to Trey's quiet offer, and the Wing Commander blinks. "Jesus Christ, Grayson. You think I'm dignified?" A shake of his head, and Jenthson drains his tea, and sighs. "I'm so exhausted, and old…I doubt that my plumbing would work even -with- hot girl on girl action. But, there's always a chance. Leave it outside my quarters, marked as inventory reports, please. There's no chance that someone would mistakenly walk off with those." He's speaking quietly, now…and adds…"And, Trey? If you can find something a smidgeon more perverse, and make sure it finds its way to the Commodore's office….I'll pay for it, and start calling you something more befitting your abilities, lad." A wink, and the older pilot starts walking without an answer, heading for his starfighter.

    "What, like goat sex?" It comes from Trey's lips immediately, as if he's got some. He turns to go.

    Once the flight has launched from the deck of Majestic, Pip's quick to key his comm, and speak…«<Echo. Let's move quick, today. Form up into wingpairs…Iceboy, follow the rogue bastard….Tsunami, Razor has lead.»> That out of the way, his own Rapier, once again flying alone to save needing a sixth pilot, throttles up to maximum cruise, and has her nose turned toward Nav-1's bearing. «<Set course for Nav-1. Enjoy the in-flight movie.»>

    «Heeello, ladies.» Trey says this to nobody in particular, though he manages to sound like a lounge singer in the process. «Copy that, Major. Icecream, take my seven o'clock position, stay seven clicks above me. Sir, I am staying in staggered formation with you, waiting for Meow-Mix to make a show.»

    Phillip clears the Majestic and pulls alongside Trey's port already knowing ahead of time whose wing he would be on. Upon receiving Echo Lead's orders he comms, «Roger Lead. Sloppy, Ice is on your wing.» After changing his fighter's position to Sloppy's 7, he throws in joking seriousness, «Wait there's an in-flight movie? What is it?»

    «Copy that, Lead.» Kanani calls over the comm, as her Stiletto slides into formation with Razor's fighter, and settles in for the trip to Nav 1. No comment is made about in flight movies, though she does chuckle, as she glances around the cramped confines of her ships cockpit.

    As they depart from the Majestic's launch tubes, Kell pulls his Stiletto into a shallow climb and then banks around so he can form up with the rest of the patrol flight. As the orders come through and assignments given, Razor sends over an acknowledgement as they flight pairs up and coordinates to the first nav point is plugged in so the HUD can help him navigate to the first destination.

    «<Don't know, Icicle. Ask the Commodore to check out his private collection. Give it a week or so, though.»> That should be enough time, right? Pip clicks on the comm…«<Chatter to a minimum, now.»> As they pass farther and farther from the Majestic, detection becomes more dangerous, of course. The trip to Nav1 is lengthy, and boring. No civilian traffic in-system, and the Kilrathi do not seem to want to come out and play. Just a lot of numbass for their trouble, thus far.

    Despite not joining in on the conversation, Razor does enjoy the momentary exchange with the new guy, Ice Queen. A chuckle may be heard in the background of the comm but once the order is given for radio silence, it is obeyed. As they approach the first nav point, the young Lieutenant's senses are heightened as he continues to scan the surroundings outside of his canopy while flicking his gaze to his sensors from time to time.

    Phillip remains silent and keeps watch with both his sensors and his eyes. On occasion, he'll take out his abridged version of the manual to make a few fine-tuning adjustments to certain minor systems to improve its performance, but it won't make much of a difference.

    Trey says nothing at all, maintaining a tight formation. Fingers slip towards the top of his craft to flip a few switches and twist a few knobs, its pilot peering about at the other craft, then turning back to look front and center.

    «<Nav2.»> That is the entirety of a very brief transmission, as they pass the computer marker that designated the first waypoint on their patrol. Pip lets the flight know to change course, and does so himself….clearly, this is -not- where the Kilrathi Battlegroup is hiding, is it? The man is content to focus entirely on the mission at hand, not fiddling with doo-dads, or anything, beyond staring at his scopes, and the surrounding space.

    The first nav point is passed uncontested, which has happened many times in the past so Razor isn't surprised, but he doesn't completely relax either. Since there are no asteroids floating around, it'll be harder to sneak up on them but crazier things can happen. He does look down at his HUD and punches in new coordinates on the keypad next to it, bringing up the next destination point. His fighter banks along with the flight as they change their heading, his throttle speed matching the new Rapiers.

    Trey swings his rapier around, staying in formation and turning nice and gently with the group. He peers at the dash and presses one of the many buttons on his confusing starfighter. A message pops up on the screen: Access Denied and he mutters to himself, "Sounds like my sex life."

    The only acknowledgement to the brief orders, that Kanani gives, is to turn her Stiletto onto the new course, that leads to Nav 2. She stays in formation with Kell, and the rest of the group, still keeping her eyes open for enemy contacts.

    Phillip doesn't so much as change course as he just maintains his position with respect to Trey's Rapier. After that, he settles in for another long sensor observing run. Frankly, he is already really used to these long boring patrols from the multiple ones he has been on in the past several days. He gives a quick yawn and keeps on watch.

    And, mid-way to Nav2, from the interior of the triangle that they're skirting around, power-blips appear on the Confed scopes, and attentive pilots will even notice them. Blazing in from seemingly nowhere, a flight of Sartha light fighters have powered up weapons, and gone to active sensors, making them much easier to spot. They are fast, and seem to be relatively skilled, as they are quick to fall upon those pilots that seem slow to react.

    And, this is why it pays to pay attention. Pip's Rapier is already banking hard, and going to full afterburner, as the Sartha come into view, having noted an energy signature with enough time to react, calling out…«<Tangos. 9 O'clock. Engage.»> His guns begin to pump out aimed fire, in full salvos of neutron and laser weapons that steadily drain his energy banks, shooting for the lead scout that has chosen to fall upon Trey. «<Watch it, Trey. You've got company.»>

    While on the way to the second navigational point, Kell's sensors come alive with contacts just as his eyes manage to spot some metallic glints in space. «Razor here, we have contact! Three light Kilrathi fighters on hot approach!» With the Kilrathi already bearing down on them, Razor reacts quickly just as the orders were given to go weapons free as he breaks off and goes in a sharp climb to see whether the Kilrathi have him targeted or not.

    Seeing that he is free at the moment, Razor inverts his Stiletto and dives back down on the Sartha that is bearing down on his wingman, «Tsunami, watch yourself, you have one on your six. Break right on my mark, I'm painting it with a missile…» There is a silent count as his lock goes solid and he fires off his first missile, «Mark!»

    Phillip spots the enemy craft, first on sensors then visually. They are quickly approaching and baring down on their flight. Phillip just in time begins to evade as the incoming missiles are fired but is it quick enough. As a result, he pulls out of formation from Trey. «Sloppy, heads up,» he comms quickly.

    It's not so much a matter of getting caught by surprise, as much as it is, that Kanani just doesn't feel she could get a good shot on one of the Sartha, from her current positioning. Therefore she elects to try out some fancy flying, and distract some cats while someone else blasts them, for the moment.

    Trey: Blindsided. He doesn't even notice the incoming craft, having chosen exactly that moment to get into a knifefight with his VDU. It's not displaying radar right now. It's actually displaying the news. In Spanish. «Wait, what?» He looks all around his cockpit and mutters, "Aw hell." He can't see the crafts, but they're out there. Turning to his 'radar' just informs him that something is going on somewhere.
    With pantaloons. «Please to not be using my first name on radio, sir. Son of a… my radar's busted.» He takes evasive action, jinking hard, but it's not effective because he doesn't even see what's attacking him. «Ice Queen, thanks for the warning. Cover me. I'm having problems.»

    «<Splash one. Apologies, Rogue. Didn't realize you had stalkers among the Kilrathi.»> A snort, and Pip's starfighter rolls over toward the scout that continues to try and ride Phillip's ass, seeing as how it is the last undamaged enemy vessel. The pair of surviving Kilrathi light fighters continue to engage their previous targets, still aiming for a knockout shot with their dumbfire warheads, instead of their more accurate mass drivers. «<That Sartha pilot -really- wants to have IcedCoffee's babies, the way he is after him.»>

    The first missile that Razor fires flies true, assisted by the evasive maneuver provided by Kanani as the heat seeker intercepts the Sartha and slams into its lightly armored fuselage, punching a nasty hole. With it being rather sluggish and damaged now, Kell's Stiletto closes in for the kill as he decreases the range between himself and the fighter that is gunning for his wingman, hovering the targeting reticule over the cockpit area of the Sartha and sending out a burst of Mass Driver Cannon fire.

    Kanani easily dodges the first shot by the kitty that's chasing her, and once the missile flies past and harmlessly into the depths of space, her Stiletto swoops around, to start firing mass driver slugs into the fairly damaged scout.

    Trey continues messing with the VDU, frantically punching at buttons along its side and finding it delivers him a mixture of undesired results and Access Denied. He gets it to display his weapon loadouts, like on the VDU to his right. "Not helpiiiiing." Meanwhile, he's twisting his craft around, trying to avoid getting hit by something he can't even see. He pushes more buttons and gets a test pattern. "Oh come on. Why the FUCK would that be helpful?" «I need a bit more time. I'm having trouble with this thing.» Truth be told, he sounds awfully calm for a guy who can't even find what's trying to kill him. In fact, he's not even aware that it's dead. "Fucking piece of shit." He makes a fist and pounds the buttons, which gives him his radar back. "Oh. Huh. I guess it works like real hardware." «Yeah, this is 'Rogue'.» Sarcasm drips in his voice. «Got my eyes back. Let's mop this up.»

    Just in time, Iceblade dodges the missile. Iceblade quickly notices that the Kat after Trey is already space dust, so he focuses on Scout-3 - the little bugger gunning for him. As Ice swings and dodges around the little Sartha, he comms, «Ha, can't hit me little kitty. Here's your reward.» He then switches to FF and lets one loose.

    «<Well. I don't know if they got a message off. If so, this is our best shot at finding that battlegroup. Change in plans. Set a course for…»> A new heading is transmitted to each of the starfighters in the flight…..it happens to coincide with the direction from which the Sartha appeared to intercept. «<Eyes open, this time, please. I'd rather not have a Ralari drop on our heads..»> Jenthson's afterburners disengage, and return to maximum cruise as his course changes, the dogfight left behind as quickly as it began.

    «Here Kitty Kitty!» Trey swings his ship around, «OH! They're just lights. I thought we were actually in trouble or something. Whoever nabbed my tail… thanks, man. Iceboy, you've got a bandit on you heading one zero one mark… oh, screw it.» He opens fire, shots screaming from his many, many cannons. They tear through the craft, mixing with Pip's guns. He flies through the debris field, shields flashing blue as the wreckage bounces off. «Nevermind, Ice.»

    Razor's second attack is a bit more lethal this time as the Mass Driver rounds punches through the lightly armored cockpit area, blowing out shards of canopy glass and most likely killing the pilot as the Kilrathi pilot spins out of control before exploding. The Lieutenant quickly searches for the last target with his eyes, only to see the third explosion occur before checking out the sensors again, seeing it empty of hostiles for now.

    With new coordinates issued, Razor shoots in an acknowledgement to the patrol leader before sending a quick query to his wingman, «Everything good on your end, Tsunami?» He was pretty sure the cat didn't land any hits on his wingman but he wanted to be sure.

    After his missile misses, Iceblade decides to reduce the loadout of the Sartha's DFs, he halts his evading a quick second and turns around to keep an eye on the Sartha until it launches its missile. He then deftly dodges it with a barrel roll. «Ha, nice shot.» he comms mockingly as he continues to dodge the Kilrathi's further attacks. Just then his sensors register the eradication of the other two Sartha. «Alright, their done.» He finishes and returns to formation with Trey. «Thanks Sloppy,» he comms quickly, ignoring the callsign error on the part of Trey.

    «Nice shooting, Razor.» Kanani states as the Sartha that was chasing her is blown up real nice. «Everything's fine here» She states in reply to Kell's question, trying to keep the talking to a minimum as Pip gives the new orders. She then pulls back into formation, and once again goes back to scanning the skies and her sensor readouts, hoping not to get caught even a bit off guard next time.

    Their spur of the moment patrol path has, it would seem, been one of a fortuitous nature. After almost an hour of cruising, the flight's radar begins to alert the pilots to a fairly large blip on the screen. It is escorted by a handful of smaller blips, and as they approach….they can breathe a little bit easier. It is a Dorkir-class transport, clearly in the Tanker configuration. And it is headed in the same direction as them, deeper on their heading into the unknown triangle of space around which they were originally patrolling. A flight of four Jalthi make up a fairly formidable escort for the important logistical craft.

    «<Fee-Fi-Foo-Fum, I smell a grease-dripping fatty.»> A slight dramatic sigh after Pip's confirmation that they were all seeing the same thing, before he adds dryly…«<And, here I thought my ex-wife had tracked me down.»> This is a very good sign that they are on the correct trail, after all. Weapons controls remain on full guns, as his starfighter's throttle is thrust forward to the fireblock, afterburners igniting in blue flame. «<Tally-ho. Let's clean off the escorts.»> From just within his weapons envelope, he opens fire. Sometimes, the WingCO forgets proper engagement procedure.

    «Hailing Kilrathi escort group, designation 'Sucka Wing'. Sucka Wing, you are ordered to power down and surrender your cargo. I just want you to know that your mothers were all a bunch of honorless sluts and that I just got done beating up stray cats with some Kilrathi scalps we keep on board. You should've -heard- the way they screamed when we killed them.» Trey laughs. Out loud. «Honorable in battle my ass. You guys are such bullshit.» And then he lights the afterburners and screams across the convoy, coming only a few feet from the hull of the Dorkir. «I think I got their attention. Clean up, man!»

    The blips appear and Razor quickly cycles through the targets, the HUD letting him know that they are facing off with a flight of Jalthi's and a fat Dorkir Transport. With a head-on pass, there is no real chance to use his remaining two Heat Seeker Missiles so he stays with the Mass Driver Cannons. Choosing not to break off, Razor watches as the klicks decreases at an incredibly fast rate and at the last moment, kicks in his afterburners while spraying a burst of cannon fire before going into a tight barrel roll that will hopefully help him evade any return fire.

    As the fatty and it's escorts come into view, Kanani lets her Stiletto leap into combat, once the order is given to attack. She switches over to her heat seekers, and tries to play tag with a Jalthi that has decided to target her. Once she's got an open shot, she pulls the trigger, and calls out. «Fox two.» As the missile flies off to meet its destiny.

    Phillip smiles as he sees the juicy targets ahead. Commenting to himself, "Jalthi, no-head-on attack, get on their tail, and stay there." He prepares an Imrec and locks onto one of the fighters headed for Trey. «Got your tail, buddy.» He comms to Sloppy as he burns past the Jalthi, then he makes a tight turn onto its tail and launches his missile right up the kitty's tailpipe.

    A young-looking Kilrathi appears on the VDU, speaking in less than perfect English. «<I know not what this Sucka is. You dislike it. It must shine gloriously.»> And, that, apparently is the Kilrathi idea of a joke. But, then again…the exchange of fire in the opening seconds of the furball would indicate that these are -not- the Empire's best…despite the fact that they're flying heavy fighters. The insults, for the most part, seem to be lost on these inexperienced pilots, as well…though they -do- seem to gravitate even further toward attempting to kill the rather mouthy human.

    «<They seem like decent pilots, but shit if they appear to be able to shoot.»> That is Pip's -first- reaction to the dogfight's early going, though he -does- glare into the VDU-screen, and respond to Trey's antics…«<Queen will be displeased if you continue to try and get yourself killed. I already had this talk with Tizona.»> Shit, now that the furball is underway, the Major will chatter away, as he throws his Rapier through a series of intricate maneuvers with the intent of avoiding the forward guns of his target, so that he can place an IR missile into his rear-aspect.

    Kanani gives a faint sigh of annoyance, as her missile, just barely misses out on an explosive demise, along with the cat she was shooting at. «That is so annoying.» She states as she once again pulls her fighter through some swoops to get back on her targets tail and open fire once again.

    The exchange between Trey and the Kilrathi brings an amused smirk to Kell's facial expressions under his flight helmet but it certainly has its effects as the six-cannoned Jalthi he was dancing with suddenly peels off to go after Trey. «Shit, Sloppy, they're gunning after you, full evasive!» For now, all Razor can do is try to take care of the Jalthi and get one off of Trey's tail as he flicks a switch over to the Heat Seeker missile. With a solid tone, he launches his second missile of this mission as it sails out, tracking the heat signature coming from the Kilrathi fighter's engines.

    Trey howls laughter into the comm, heedless of the danger and seeming to enjoy it. He's not worried about dying at all, if one goes by his tone. He sighs laughter into the radio. «Wing, this is… yeah. Fuck…» He swings around, curling about the Dorkir as not one, but two craft gun for him. That some of the Dorkir turrets are after him as well is no real surprise. He lights the afterburners and does his best to keep them off him. He succeeds, but comes too close to a turret, which manages to find a weak spot on his shields and punch into the body. «Nice shot, cat!» He laughs derisively, then adds more seriously as two Jalthi become three… and then four. «You know, I think I touched a NERVE!»

    The Jalthi, after missing Trey on its first pass, pulls a quick turn right into Ice's missile. Unfortunately, this resulted in a glancing blow to the nose instead of the full-on hit desired. "Dang it," Iceblade says as he redoubles his efforts on this Jalthi. Iceblade quickly burns and maneuvers to keep locked on the Jalthi's tail before letting loose with another IR missile to knock it out of action.

    And, the Jalthi finally cease to target the same target, especially since three of them have taken not inconsiderable damage. They really are a set of green pilots. As of this moment, only the Dorkir has proven any true threat. The damaged trio -do- peel off from the fight, dumping off a friend or foe missile apiece, in an effort to avoid dying before their time. The Dorkir does what it can to protect itself, and one must assume reinforcements are incoming.

    «<Leave Jalthi-4. Its leaking engine is leaving a nice trail, looks like. We'll follow it home. Kill the rest, and move quick. I want to find that fleet. Pip, out.»> His Rapier's afterburners remain lit, and he fails to report the minor damage that the Lady Jane Grey takes from flak from the tanker. His last IR missile is released toward Jalthi-2.

    Kanani keeps her last heat seeker snug and safe in its missile rack, as she switches to guns and tries to give her target Jalthi a gift of mass driver rounds, through the cockpit window. Once she draws a bead on the damaged fighter, she pulls the trigger, opening fire, and hopefully hitting the darn thing, as well.

    «Holy shit. That looks really pretty.» What Trey is speaking of is the sheer number of guns firing on him. There are shots -everywhere-, streaking under, over, and around his nimble Rapier. Shields sputter and flicker, taking hits and struggling to regenerate while the pilot micromanages them, applying whatever energy remains to the places they're needed most. «Did I just con a convoy?? Is that why they call it that? Con-voy? Ho ho ho. I slay me.» He's fast and nimble.

    Iceblade's last IR missile barrels right in the enemy heavy doing serious damage to its engines and causing the fighter to get slower and slower. "What the? How are you still alive," Iceblade says as he quickly pulls back on his throttle and switches to full guns to finish this sucka off. «Time for a little Kitty-Kitty Bang Bang….Wait what.» Ice comms as he halts firing of his guns and peels off for another target, picking on the least damaged Jalthi and blasting it with full guns - all the while avoiding flak from the transport.

    Since the one Razor has tagged isn't the fourth designated Jalthi, he sticks to the sluggish Heavy Fighter, especially after it suffers a nasty impact on its left wing from his previous Heat Seeker missile. Choosing to save his last missile, Kell switches back over to the Mass Drivers and does the same thing he did for the earlier Sartha. He aims a little bit head of the Jalthi, leading the slower target while closing in before letting a lethal burst.

    Explosions of flak, and warheads fill the skies, and suddenly Pip's cockpit goes dark. A bit of shrapnel managed to hit a power coupling, and send his fighter onto a ballistic course. Again. Fuck. A moment later, after much kicking, and pounding on panels, everything lights back up, still showing only minor damage. «<I miss my Scim, goddamnit.»> A growl, and he flips weapons over to FoF… «<Tsunami, Razor. Follow the damaged fighters, kill them if you can. IceBoty, go with them. Find the fleet, take pictures, bug the fuck out.»> His Rapier reorients itself on the Dorkir, and one of his as-of-yet unused Friend or Foes is popped off toward the Fatty, since it is a more valuable target, and the hostiles are running. «<Let's kill it, Rogue. Then we'll follow on their six.»>

    Iceblade's shots only do a glancing blow and knocking off some of the Jalthi's armor. Just then the Jalthi start making a run for it and throw off an FF missile. Iceblade quickly goes evasive to avoid the missile before moving to tail the Jalthi. As he does so, Ice quickly comms, «Roger Lead, Iceblade out.»

    «Copy that Pip.» Kanani states, as her Stiletto leaps after her target. She hits the button to switch back to her final missile, and after getting a lock, states. «Fox two> As the missile is released and heads towards the Cat, and hopefully into its engines.

    «Roger, Lead, in full pursuit.» Kell responds, giving a quick acknowledgement after his previous burst of fire peppers the Jalthi he had been chasing, shattering the cockpit and gouging some holes near the armor area of the cockpit. Getting closer still, Razor fires off another burst of Mass Driver Cannon fire before getting a klaxon warning that a missile has locked on and is barreling in on him, causing him to let out a curse.

    «Oh, am I Rogue, now?» Trey snickers, sweeping his craft around, having navigated the tsunami of neutron bolts with a little (a lot of) help from his shields, and good old fashioned blind luck. «Copy, sir. Taking out the trash.»

    Both missiles slam into the Fatty, and do a decent bit of damage to the hull, though the lumbering Tanker continues to chug along, firing bursts of flak at her attackers. As it stands, the Jalthi continue to drop friend or foe missiles at the three fighters still chasing them. But, that is the limit of their offensive capabilities at this point. Jalthi-4 continues to leave a nice trail, as well.

    Kanani grumbles as her missile bounces more or less harmlessly off the Jalthi's engine armor, and she switches back to guns, as she's out of missiles. She tries once more to bring some cheer and light to her target's life, but placing some more mass driver rounds into the damaged fighter.

    «<I miss my bloody dumbfires, Rogue.»> A note of dissatisfaction as the FoF does only minor damage to the Tanker, and in the same comment, he confirms the response to Trey's question. Sloppy is no more. Long live the still sort of generic, but way less embarrassing callsign! Pip's Rapier maneuvers through the flak field successfully, avoiding damage, while lining up another decent shot in the interim.

    The Kilrathi FF is easily evaded with a little ECM work. After firing a few random shots at the Jalthi, Iceblade gets serious and begins to bare in on the Kilrathi's tailpipe with full guns. Quickly setting a few switches on the comm unit, Iceblade sends a quick transmission to Kell and Kanani, «Remember guys, leave Jalth-4 alone.» Iceblade then lets loose his guns.

    Trey's shields flicker as some of the flak bursts explode in close proximity to his craft, dropping the signal strength from his emitters while the reactors struggle to keep them filled. «Wow. What a bunch of dumbasses. Do you think they're asking themselves what they were thinking?» He adds to the Kilrathi pilots: «It's not that you planned to fail. You just failed to plan.»

    The second Mass Driver fire from Razor's Stiletto splatters onto the Jalthi's cockpit area again but this time it finds chunks of armor so no real damage was done to the armor. However, the Kilrathi fighter does shake a bit from the impact and fractures begin to appear all over the hull. From all the damage it had taken before, the hull integrity was in a critical state and the last hit pushed it over the breaking point. Instead of a brilliant explosion like most kills, the Jalthi just breaks apart.
    With one of the escaping Heavy Fighters down, Kell shifts his aim over to the next one and launches another burst while going into a tight corkscrew in an attempt to dodge the blindly fired Friend or Foe missile that is looping back at him. «Damn Ef-Oh-Efs are annoying as hell, all it takes is a stroke of bad luck.»

    In succession, Trey and Pip's last missiles strike the Fatty, and within moments, the tanker is blooming into a giant fireball, a dangerous shockwave reaching toward the pair of starfighters still in range. And, as for the Jalthi, with only a pair remaining, they continue to flee, as they have little other choice. Already, flashes of noise on the radar screen indicate that they are approaching a large formation in the distance, though it is far too distant too identify any ships.

    «Excellent shooting, lad. I suspect we'd best trail after the other children. See them home safely.»> Pip's already speaking, as he's on full-burn away from the fireball that laps at his shields, rolling to port to avoid a nice chunk of superstructure that goes shooting by, sent on a long, neverending journey courtesy of the explosion.

    Kanani burns off a bit more of the Jalthi's hull that she's shooting at, but it's still not enough to bring it down, so far. A glance at the ships sensors and she notices the flashes indicating something else out there. «I think we might be getting close to what we're looking for, guys.» She states, as she opens fire on the Jalthi once again.

    With another Jalthi vanquished, Kell focuses on the remaining Kilrathi that they were told not to destroy and hovers the targeting reticule over it when some fuzzes appear on his sensors. He taps the sensor panel a couple of times with a finger and quickly comms in, «Razor to Lead, I think I am picking up something up ahead, sensors aren't clear of it yet. Permission to destroy all Jalthi's before investigating?» With the request made, he sends out another burst of Mass Driver fire at the Jalthi-3.

    «Oooh. That's just adorable.» Trey's shields strive higher, and he drops the power to his guns down to nothing while the shields do their thing. He has no further comment, watching the fireball as he flies past it.

    Combined with the initial hits by Kell from the front, Iceblade rips into the tail of the Jalthi with a few pin-pointed shots causing its reactor to quickly explode. As Ice avoids the blast, he comms in a cold, harsh voice, «May the cold death of space rip through your soul, feral beast.» Iceblade then pulls around to lock onto the tail of Jalthi-4, then he just waits while maintaining a definite position behind the Kilrathi as much as it tries to evade. He notices the fleet but holds back a finishing shot until given the go ahead.

    «< You -think- Razor? Permission denied. I ordered you to leave Jalthi-4 intact, and you want to destroy it without being -positive-? I repeat, do not destroy that starfighter.»> Pip's voice crackles over the comm, sounding more than a little irritated that the question was asked. But, hey…Kell -did- just save Kanani and Phillip from the arse-reaming of their lives, and possibly ruining the mission, itself. The contacts in the distance begin to shape up….it is a convoy, and the Jalthi just changed course, and took on a near heading, still deeper into the triangle.

    After tailing the Jalthi for a short distance after it changed course, Iceblade pulls back from the craft and tracks its ion trail. However, Iceblade had remained so intent on the Jalthi at the edge of his fighter's sensor range that he doesn't notice the new sensor contacts. Eventually the computer chirps at him with a warning that the fighter is nearly at the extent of its range. Just then he hears the comm from the others about the fleet, and only then does Iceblade notice the large number of new sensor contacts on his scoops. «Uh, yeah I confirm that is one big fleet. No convoy is that well guarded.» Iceblade comms mentally noting that the targets must contain ships heavier than destroyers.
     
  14. Iceblade

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    Battle of Junction Briefing

    Briefing Room of the TCS Majestic
    Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2658.142

    Set above the ready line, this sizable room serves as a briefing area for the Majestic's air wing. Stadium-style seating in five rows provides space for sixty pilots or other flight crew. At the front of the room, a lectern with the Confederation logo stands on a raised platform for presentations, with a trio of chairs located behind it. A large vidscreen is set into the wall, for projecting mission flight paths or other critical information. The side walls are decorated with the insignia of the squadrons operating off of the Majestic.

    Alec wanders in, looking a little worn, and nods to any faces that turn his way. He looks for an unobtrusive place to sit.

    Phillip having arrived early is already in his usual sit and watches as all of the pilots enter.

    If Cole's a little behind the others wandering in, it's likely because he's still not back up to speed. Still, the Captain hobbles his way in as fast as his wounded legs will allow him, making his way to his customary seat and dropping into it with all the grace of a falling piano.

    The bonsai cometh. Raine has come to keep an eye on any injured attendees and to figure out just how many beds she might well need to clear up. Also maybe to quietly cheer on her favorite officers. Either way, she enters somewhat behind Cole carrying a cane and quietly 'pssts' to him, before leaning the cane on the chair. Might make hobbling a little easier. She just smiles and takes a seat near the back though.

    It is not exactly a secret that the Majestic has been abuzz with activity since the Kilrathi entered Junction, but the last few hours have been a bee's nest, or something similarly buzzy and busy. The briefing room is filling to capacity as every pilot on the carrier fit to fly is ordered to attend. Pip is -not- at the podium, though….as he steps into the room, already clad in his ratty-old flightsuit, and carrying a sheaf of papers under his arm. The Englishman steps up to the podium, and eyes the room, taking a moment to adjust his notes before him, and work on gathering his thoughts. He looks even more haggard than his most recent combat briefing. A TCSF Spacehand hurries in with his customary cup of pre-flight tea, and a burning cigarette, before excusing himself from the room.

    Dante walks into the briefing room wearing his very non-regulation cowboy hat. The cigar he's smoking is also not part of the Confed outlined ISO regulation and standards. But who's going to tell him that? He stalks in like a cowboy, as usual and doesn't take a seat. Instead, the Commodore walks in Jenthson and shows him a piece of paper. He mutters something into the man's ear. Because he's in here, armed marines take position on either side of the door. Talk about a bee's nest of activity. When a flag officer is in your briefing room, something BIG is going down.

    Saint-Cloud enters only a few moments after Dante and the marines, the short and stocky Astrogator making his way as quietly and carefully as possible. Like the commodore, the small but broad-shouldered man doesn't sit but leans against the wall off to the side, trying to remain as inconspicuous as he can.

    Kanani quietly makes her way through the crowds of arriving pilots. Making her way towards where the 221st squadron's seating is, she finally takes a seat in the spot that she normally uses.

    Stepping briskly through the opening from operations, customary unlit cigarette hanging limply from his lip, is Doyle. Such a sight is not an uncommon thing in mission briefings - Stix has the tradition of one final drag before hitting space. He makes his way towards 221st country seating and slips into the isle, lowering himself into a seat while finishing doing up the front of his flight suit. He straightens a little when the Wing Commander enters the room, before sitting fully upwards as the Commodore stalks in. He knows enough that such an appearance is not to make pleasantries. Lips twitch around his smoke, his gaze fixating on the podium at the forefront of the room. It was going to be one of those days.

    Alec straightens his back a little, perhaps picking up on the tense vibe.

    Having taken a brief nap and gotten some sustenance into his body, Kell had arrived to the briefing room a little bit earlier than was required but that is probably so he could find a comfortable seat with a good view of tonight's briefing. There is no sign of his previous head injury, especially after last night's patrol mission and he is definitely looking forward to seeing last night's efforts bear fruit. For the time being, he is seated in a casual manner, legs slightly spread with an arm draped around the backrest of the seat as he watches others file into the briefing room. That will most likely change though as the room gets more crowded and the seats next to him are taken.

    Cole's attention diverts towards the Commodore for a moment, before turning back to his squadron. "Now I know we're in for some shit" Cole comments quietly to Alec over in the 13th's little section of the party. "First rule of the real fleet. If someone with stars is giving the briefing, it's gonna be ugly" he adds quietly, before glancing back towards the front of the room.

    Alec nods, lips thin. "Understood," he replies with a touch of dry humour, but his heart's not quite in it.

    "Well. I'll be glad it wasn't 'lead, you're on fire'" Cole tells Alec with a little amused chuckle. Spirited or not, the humor in the comment apparently wasn't quite lost on the bomber squadron commander.

    Alec's reply is a nervous little smile - but his attention, it seems, remains mostly on the podium, and whatever dire portents are soon to come.

    Raine smiles a bit at folks she knows, but for her part? She's just listening. She blinks at Doyle, and tilts her head. She takes a deep breath and settles in to listen. Her bonsai sits on an armrest.

    Saint-Cloud listens to the rabble, smiling faintly. He runs his massive hand over his head, fingers through his close cropped red hair and looks to Dante, raising a brow. He pulls his tablet computer from under his arm and flips it on.

    A nod in response to Dante's whisper, and Pip takes a drag on his own strictly forbidden cigarette, and turns his head to blow smoke toward the audience. Ominous foreshadowing, that. A few more words are murmured to the Commodore, before the Englishman turns fully toward the assembled pilots, and assorted naval officers. Reaching beneath his podium, a wooden pointer is removed, and used to rap the surface in front of him, as if asking the room for silence. His smoke is settled into the unemptied ashtray on the corner of the lectern.

    "The day has arrived for us to kick the fleabags out of this system, ladies and gentleman. The Kilrathi battlegroup has been discovered, as has a large convoy of what appear to be troop transports. It is, as the cliche goes…now or never." A button is clicked, and the vidscreen behind him activates, displaying fuzzy images of a what appears to be a significant fleet of warships. Within this fleet, the fat-bodied shape of every fighter pilot's nightmare, and every bomber pilot's dream hangs. A Snakeir-class carrier…home to almost twice the Majestic's complement of starfighters. In escorting positions, multiple Fralthis, and Ralaris are more than visible. Even to those not up-to-date on the exact details of current vehicle classifications should be able to compare this fleet to that which hangs outside off their own carrier's viewports. The 13th Carrier Battlegroup is outnumbered, and outgunned. For the moment, Major Jenthson allows the image to sink in, while he takes a sip of his tea.

    Dante pulls the cigar from his lips and blows thick, sweet smelling smoke. He gives Saint-Cloud a nod, and then turns to the assembled crew as the Wing Commander speaks. What he does, in particular, is study each man and woman's face to the point that it's individual, personalized scrutiny of each person. Anyone paying attention to him, rather than the man they're -supposed- to be paying attention to, will inevitably find the Commodore make eye contact with him or her. It's the searching kind. As if he's weighing each soul in the room. He is, however, silent.

    Kanani gives a slightly curious glance towards all the brass that's present for today's briefing, but her attention is quickly diverted as the briefing starts in earnest. A slight widening of her eyes is her only reaction to the vidscreen and the pictures of the Kilrathi battlegroup.

    "Well, at least we won't want for targets" Cole comments with an amused little chuckle at the sight that appears on the vidscreen, even as he takes down a few quick notes from the image displayed on the screen. Apparently, Voodoo doesn't much believe in dramatic silences.

    With a glance slowly sent around the room, Doyle takes in the vibe of the surrounding pilots. Every carrier has a different feeling to it, and he was still trying to come to grips with Majestic's. He gives a firm nod to Kanani as she sits nearby, though his expression remains somewhat grave. Eyes briefly meet Raine's as she looks to him and he manages a tight-lipped smile around the unlit cigarette, before he looks back to the front of the room. A deep breath is slowly exhaled as Jenthson begins the briefing, and crystal blue eyes flick to the daunting image of the enemy carrier group on the vidscreen. The cigarette slowly sags between his lips. "Bloody hell," he murmurs.

    Alec could almost be a portrait entitled 'deer caught in the headlights'. He stares at the screen for several seconds, before breathing out slowly in a deliberate fashion.

    Raine blinks, and frowns faintly. Well. That's going to mean most of the malingerers in medbay are going to get the boot. Lots of targets, sure, but the kitties aren't too likely to just roll over on this one. She looks to her bonsai then back to the briefing.

    As the enemy task force's composition appears, Kell lets out an impressed whistle at what they are going to be facing tonight. Overall, everything put together will probably be overwhelming but the young Lieutenant knows that they will probably be broken up to smaller elements that various groups will focus on. He does remain silent and focused, awaiting to see what the plan is and how it will go down, at least how it is suppose to go down.

    Saint-Cloud just listens, his own eyes studying the pilots.. This being his first mission since arriving he doesn't know what to expect.. so is keeping track of who is who and doing what.

    Phillip just remains transfixed on the screen, listening to the briefing. He shows no sign of emotion.

    Alec murmurs out of the corner of his mouth to his CO, lilting accent sharpened with gallows humour. "So, ah… it'd be too late to request another transfer, then?"

    "I've been discussing the nature of the mission with the Commodore, and we've come up with a plan that should give us the goods to kill the sons-of-bitches. The Navy has already been given their own orders, and at this moment, we're moving into attack position." Pip continues his briefing, as the image behind turns into computer-generated map of the system, specifically the local portion covering the Kilrathi battlegroup. "As you've seen, the Kilrathi possess a full-sized fleet carrier, and a fairly heavy escort. Their ratio of starfighters to ours is even more overwhelming. Our primary advantage is in having the initiative, and being willing to make use of it." On the map behind him, three squadrons of unlabeled Confed starfighters appear, and make an end-run toward what appears to be a large concentration of transports in the enemy's rear sector. "I know this looks like suicide…and hell, it will be bloody…but these are two squadrons of Scimitars, and one of Broadswords forwarded to our command by Junction's militia. The idea, is to make it appear as if the locals are making a rather desperate gamble to stave off invasion until a stronger force can arrive." He taps vidscreen -hard- with his pointer, and just about that time, a much larger force of human capitals appears from behind the sun's poles…."We -hope- that the Kilrathi will divert their attention to this threat in the rear…allowing us to swing around from behind the sun, and use the magnetic fields, and radiation as interference to allow us to hit them in the arse."

    Dante literally chomps on his cigar, watching the reactions of the assembled people and blowing smoke. To look at the man, one might get the impression that he has been up for a -very- long time. He has all the signs. Red eyes, a fresh coat of stubble… the somewhat sour disposition is, of course, a standard feature which comes in both Fresh Dante and the Sleep Deprived variety.

    Phillip nods as the briefing comes to a key point. Iceblade now appears in a more contemplative state, analyzing the possibility of success of this mission and the likelihood of making it back alive or even have a carrier to return home to, for that matter.

    Kanani leans back in her chair a bit, as she continues to listen to the Wing Commander as he goes over the plans for dealing with the Cats, and her eyes stay on the viewscreen for the most part, as it gives a visual reference for how things are -supposed- to go.

    Alec's bleak smile seems to dry up at the mention of the three militia squadrons. He goes back to staring at the screen, wearing an expression that could only be called grim.

    Raine looks pained at the mention that it would be bloody. That's not going to be pleasant to deal with. She slips a small pad from her pocket. Something about stationing Corpsmen around the ships, particularly near the hangars.

    Doyle plucks the cigarette from between his lips, leaning forward in his seat with elbows planted upon his knees. Eyes bore into the Nav Layout as the plan plays out before his eyes, and his lips purse into an unhappy line. It doesn't really need to be said - it was gonna be a gamble. Should the Kilrathi take the bait, those Militia are gonna get chomped. And if the Kilrathi don't take the bait.. well. He straightens in his chair again and nods once, apparently accepting those odds.

    It really ain't the place nor time / To reel off rhyming diction / But yet we'll write a final rhyme / Whilst waiting cru-ci-fixion! Perhaps Cole's getting a whole new sympathy for the words of Harry Morant right about now. Either way, there are no further comments from the bomber pilot for the moment, jotting down a couple last notes of his own before turning his full attention back towards the lectern and the presentation being delivered.

    "Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen. The Kilrathi quite likely do not know our true strength in-system. As far as they know, there is a much smaller carrier, with fewer escorts. What they -do- know, is that nearly every time we've faced them, they've run us off. That cannot happen this time. If we fail, Junction falls. And, quite possible, Gemini with. This is a critical system. Do not forget that." He begins to name off flight assignments, tapping targets on the screen with resounding clacks…"The Warmachines will join the pilots of the Honour, and fly space superiority. If it flies, and is fuzzy. Kill it. Strictly speaking, murder the wankers." His eyes settle on the pilots of that squadron, as he speaks…and then he is moving on, tapping a trio of Ralaris, and a Fralthi on map. "Conquistadors. You are to escort the Rhinos in a strike on this wing of their fleet. I want those capitals -dead-. Don't waste your torpedoes, but please try to kill a Kamekh or two, en route." And, then he shifts his attention to the pilots of the 1087th, "You are on protection detail. Interdiction of -any- Grikaths, or Kamekhs that threaten the Majestic. She is our home base, and if she goes, so goes Junction." Finally, he regards the 13th, and the 221st. "Illuminati. You are on escort detail. The 13th is tasked with destruction of the Snakeir's flight decks, first and foremost. Kill her if you can, but aim for those decks, because if we can shut her down mid-launch, a whole hell of a lot of us will return home." As he is giving this last order, he strikes the icon representing the enemy carrier with such force that his pointer splinters, and the vid-screen cracks at the location, visibly. Silence for a moment. "Say your goodbyes. Some of us will not be sitting here, come tomorrow." He steps away from the podium, nodding to Dante as he does so.

    Saint-Cloud doesn't wince at the shattering pointer. He just taps some things into his tablet and then slips it under his arm and clasps his massove hands behins his broad back.

    Alec jumps a little in his seat at the crack of the screen, and swallows nervously in the silence. He wipes a sweaty palm along one pant-leg, and flicks a glance around the room, face tight.

    Doyle is silent as wing assignments are given out, fingers idling twirling that cigarette between them. When it comes to the Illuminati, he sends a glance over towards where the 13th are seated, gaze fixed on Cole where he applies a nod. Seems he'll be playing Guardian Angel tonight. As the briefing concludes with the splintering snap of wood, the 221st XO remains seated, sticking that cigarette back between his lips and lighting it. No goodbyes necessary.

    As flight assignments for the 221st is given, Kell gives the Wing Commander a firm nod, one basically out of formality since there is a sea of military personnel in here for him to notice. The young Lieutenant than turns his gaze in the general area of where the 13th Bomber pilots are situated, giving them a nod as well since his job will be to escort them again. The grim nature of Jenthson's ending of the briefing isn't lost on Kell though, and that same thought had occurred to him once all the hostiles appeared on the briefing map at the beginning of the session.

    Dante nods slowly, and then saunters towards the podium. He moves like he's wearing stirrups, honest to goodness, and he opens and closes his lips like he's really chomping the hell out of that cigar. When he pulls it out of his mouth and places it on the podium, it becomes clear that he was.

    "Thank you, Major. Just wanted to say a few words to all y'all before everything gets up close and personal." Dante Claybourne is the tenor twang of southern inhospitality. Higher pitched than one might expect a man who screams cowboy, but his voice is all cowboy, regardless, and he sounds bitter… the kind of guy who'd spit bullets at a person and inflict an injury or two in the process. "Like the man said, we're on a course to slingshot around the sun and come at them under E-leck-tronic cover." Yes. He stresses the 'E' like that. "I wanted to say something because I expected the reactions I see here…" He points to nobody in particular, though point he does. "Scared. Nervous. Reckon a few of you done asked yourself why we're doing it like this. So I wanted to make sure you knew what we're dealing with. Since the fleabags blited into Gemini, we've been fighting a losing war of attrition. One of the first things they did was pop Perry Naval Base, and that hurt like a sum'bitch, I don't gotta tell none of you that. Truth is, every line of reinforcements we got in the sector has got to stay where it is. Cats are big on display of power. You show 'em one weakness, they expect you got a hundred and they'll show you what for."

    "Pilots in here have seen things get worse in this system. This… this big pile of red icons behind me is the reason. It's their 'us', and if you'll pardon the pun, we just won the game of cat and mouse, because we found 'em before they found us. No time for reinforcements. The waiting game's one they're gonna win. We strike now, or we leave Junction… and I don't know about you…" He laughs harshly, "But I don't want to fight the number of fronts a fleabag-controlled Junction opens up." And then he turns to the group in general, "Fight like it's your last. Forget retreat, 'cause most brass won't tell you what the major did, or what I did, but we lose this, we're getting Sol Sector campaign ribbons. Now go out there and show them that we fight like -dogs- here."

    Phillip listens to the remainder of the briefing and when the pilots are finally dismissed, he gets up quietly with concern on his face and follows the other pilots to the ready line.

    Raine just takes a deep breath. She's hoping there will be a minimum of empty seats after this. But the acting CMO knows better than that. Shy, gentle critter that she is - even reality slaps her with a wet towel sometimes. It's going to be ugly. Better round up the medics, corpsmen and get a few nurses ready. Lots of painkillers too. Shrapnel wounds and EVA wounds and god knows what else tend to be remarkably ugly. Dante's speech gets a faint smile.

    Kanani remains silent through the conclusion of the briefing, and as the flight assignments are given out. She nods slightly as the 221st receives it's instructions, and like others of her squad, she glances over towards the area where the 13th is sitting, and gives another nod.

    Cole can't help but give a little bit of a grin at Dante's comment, before he turns his attention to his squadron, raising his voice a little. "Alright, you bastards. Here's the deal. I'll be toasting the death of a Snakier tonight in First and Last, and I hate to drink alone." Cole says to his squadron, giving a little bit of a grin. "So try to make sure I don't have to?"

    Dante continues, "We fight like dogs. We kill like animals… and you do this right, and we're making history, because -this- is gonna be the turning point of the war. That's all I gotta say about that." He grabs his cigar, puts it in his mouth, and heads for the exit. He turns towards Saint-Cloud as he goes, "Meet me in the bridge in ten. Make sure all ships are reporting in and make sure that situation on Tyson's taken care of. It ain't, then they make it out of this alive, tell 'em I'll shoot the bastards myself."

    Alec takes a deep breath, and makes the effort to pull himself together in the wake of the skipper's speech, Cole's words, and the glances and nods from the 221st, which he does his best to notice and mirror. He gives his CO another nod, trying to get that smile back. "Yes sir," he replies, inevitably.

    Saint-Cloud nods to Dante. "Aye, sir." he says in his voice that is way too deep voice for someone his stature. He pushes off the wall and looks to the group, pip in particular and clears his throat. "If I may?" he asks Pip.

    Pip nods to Dante, as he finishes up, and steps up to the podium for long enough to collect his cigarette, and speak to the room. "Dismissed, pilots. You've got some time before we launch. Record messages. Find a corner, fuck a nurse. I don't care. No drinking, and don't try to send a communications. They're locked down. May your gods be with you, folks. The Kilrathi's sure as fuck won't be with them." He turns from the podium, though he doesn't leave the room, just in case someone has something further to add….and Saint-Cloud appears to. He nods. "Go ahead, Astro."

    Raine lifts an eyebrow at the fuck a nurse comment. "If you do THAT, use protection," Raine huffs quietly. She scoops up her bonsai and looks around, "Good luck." Nod. "I'll make tea for medbay I guess. I wonder if I should use Earl Grey or Blueberry…"

    Alec looks at Cole. "Bit of a baptism of fire, then?"

    Saint-Cloud thanks Pip and steps up to the podium and looks around at everyone. The podium comes up to his chest. He looks at each of the pilots, either separate or in groups. "For those of you who don't know me, I'm Lieutenant Commander Dorian Saint-CLoud. Chief Astro For this ship and battlegroup. Since I need to be up in CiC in a minute to Coordinate at The Wall.." he says, referring to that big transparent window like wall which is used to keep track of the battle resources, "..I don't want to take too much time with you since I know you are busy so I will be brief. I don't know any of you, really. But I have heard a lot of things about this battlegroup and this ship in particular.. Not all good. Not all bad. But what has always stood out from the chaff is your dedication and resolve. So I will try to make sure I am worthy of serving with people of such commitment. I will have your backs as much as this beast here will let me.. Beyond that all I can offer you now is what one of my mothers, a pilot herself like you, once told me. "Time to Fuck the Kilrathi like the pussies they are."

    Rising to his feet, Kell was about to head towards the exit of the briefing room once the dismiss was given from the WingCo but when Saint-Cloud took the podium, the young Lieutenant slows to a stop and turns his attention to the Lt. Commander. There isn't any real acknowledgement to the other man's words until the end, which brings an amused grin to the pilot's facial expression which shows that he appreciates the speech and comments. Then Kell is on his way out, perhaps to drop by the Temple to perhaps record something down before heading to his final destination, his fighter.

    "Welcome to the real war" Cole tells Alec, that little grin still lingering on his face after Saint-Cloud's speech. "I'll meet you down on the flight deck. I've just got something to take care of first" Cole explains, before picking his way through the seats towards the escort pilots. "Tsunami!" he calls over, looking to get the woman's attention.

    With a blast of cigarette smoke, Doyle's lips twitch into a small smile as the Commodore gives his 'pep' talk. Oh, it's peppy, alright. He licks his lips, mind reeling with the knowledge of events to come. This was a chance to cripple the enemy in a way that mankind hasn't been able to do in a long time, and the elation that brings him stirs, overcoming the dread in the pit of his stomach. He watches Pip conclude the meeting, saluting sharply as the pilots are dismissed. Curious eyes follow Saint-Cloud as he addresses the pilots, and he smirks at his concluding line. "Well," he says, directing his attention to the 221st sitting around him, speaking in that heavy Irish drawl, "Tonight is gonna be an interestin' night. Don't be late for the party, and lets make sure our heavy-set guests survive to see the end of it, yeah?" He tilts his head in the direction of the bomber pilots, a smile wrapping around the embering cigarette as tendrils of dark smoke ebb upwards.

    Kanani chuckles at the ending of Saint-Cloud's speech, and grins slightly. As she hears her callsign being called out, she turns in Cole's direction, and starts walking towards him. "What's up Voodoo?" She asks still grinning slightly, towards the man.

    Alec nods in reply, giving Saint-Cloud a thin little smile and a lazy salute from his seat in the wake of his little speech. He watches the bomber captain move away for a few moments, before nodding to himself, getting to his seat, and wandering out of the briefing room.

    Saint-Cloud grins at everyone, a smile of teeth whiter then the KKK. He fires off a salute and heads for the doors.

    Cole closes the rest of the distance to Kanani, reaching out and pressing something small and silver into her hand, leaning in to make a quick and quiet comment before he steps back. He just smiles silently for a moment, before offering simply "I'll see you when we get back."

    Kanani takes a quick look at the thing being pressed into her hand, and places it safely in one of the pockets on her flightsuit. She smiles at Cole and nods, before she grins and says. "I'll see you when we get back, too, Voodoo."

    Doyle gets up from his chair and makes for the operations deck, making haste on smoking down the traditional pre-launch cigarette as he departs towards the flight deck.

    Cole seems content to leave it at that, turning for the exit after Kanani's reply, and hobbling his way for the door. Certainly not the fight he'd pick to be less than his best for… but, when do bomber pilots ever get the luxury of picking their fights?
     
  15. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Battle of Junction

    2658.142

    It appears on sensors before becoming visible to the naked eye, and with each vessel revealed, it becomes clear. The Kilrathi really want the Junction system, and it's critical array of jump points. Carrier Battlegroup 13's luck is made evident as the formation is on final approach for perhaps the largest naval engagement to occur since New Constantinople. If they had not located this force, they would be on the defensive against a far larger foe on its terms, rather than attacking on the Confederation's own.

    The central figure of the Kilrathi battlegroup is a fat-bodied Snakeir-class Carrier, home to almost twice the birds that Majestic herself can put into the air, and surrounding her, lending support to her defense, are three Fralthi-class vessels. A total of five Ralari-class destroyers are in escort positions, along with a skirmish line of four Kamekh-class torpedo boats. It is a hearty force with which to resist an already depleted 13th Carrier Battlegroup.

    From the void, a large formation of human starfighters appear, nearly forty of them, to be precise. A collection of extremely old-model Scimitars, and Broadswords. But they are armed, and heading toward the formation with what speed they can muster. The Kilrathi CAP is already en route to engage, while yet more starfighters begin to scramble into space to meet this new threat. The human ships' formation is somewhat sloppy, and their maneuvers do -not- come with military precision, but they do engage. One of the Fralthi, a pair of the Kamekhs, and two of the Ralari break away from the Snakier to engage the Junction Militia, while the rest of the fleet begins to redeploy to turn their guns in that direction. The human target is clear: The vulnerable troop transports, and tankers lying within the battlegroup, and already, weapons fire is filling the void, and ships on both side are dying. The Battle of Junction has begun.

    From afar, 'slingshotting around the sun' doesn't look nearly as dramatic and cool as it sounds. Even aboard the ships, it's just some hull rattling and shaking. But the 13th Carrier Battlegroup absolutely rockets around Junction's burning sun, moving at a relative speed far faster than it deserves to go. Clearly the crew will need some radiation pills if they don't need funerals. It's single file, one ship after another with the exception of the TCS Tyson, which is, oddly enough, nowhere to be seen in the lineup. The Majestic's gun turrets stand ready, as do that of each ship in the fleet.

    On the bridge, Dante sits in his command chair, hat on his head and cigar burning bright. He reaches for the comms. "All decks, report in. Fire Control." "Fire Control ready." "Engineering." "Engineering ready." "Damage Control." "Damage Control Ready." "Deck." "Deck Ready." "Major Jenthson. Report preparedness. Medical, check in. Let's give these bastards a what for."

    Snug in the cockpit of his borrowed Rapier, Pip glances across his VDUs, tapping on his keypad just long enough to filter through status reports from various squadrons aboard the Majestic, and her escorts. «Launch procedures will begin just as soon as hit the IP, Boss.»> That's the extent of the Major's preparedness report, because they're just about to hit that initial point, and his Rapier is the first in his tube. Gloves hands flex, and he flips over to the Wing's frequency. «<We'll be launching from a carrier moving faster than she's designed to move, pilots. Grab your asses, and hang on. Pip, out.»>

    From over the star's northern plane dives the Majestic, coming at the fleet like a sword, cutting through the sun's light it had been using to obscure itself as best as possible. At the helm plot in front of The Wall, thick fingers flying over his tactical and navigation consoles, Saint-Cloud sends commands to the actual physical helmsman. He guides them with nearly arcane mathematics turned into visualized information of the intersecting points of near space objects, gravity, and other such datum. It is a LOT of information to sift through and then not only utilize here but send to the fleet. "Stay on course at Zero Three Two Degrees," he calls out to the helm. "Bring our pitch down four degrees.. We want the lowest profile possible!" He swipes the controls and starts running his targeting filter to weed out marks in the plethora of targets and looks at Dante "We are in the cone, sir."

    « Right. Remember, we're gunning for the big bitch as soon as we're out. » Cole reports to the bomber squadron from where he's seated at the controls of his Broadsword. He flexes his injured hand a little, wincing slightly at the stiffness of the motion inside his glove, before shaking his head a little and dismissing the concern from his thoughts. « Follow me in, and lay 'em in accurate. Having somewhere to land depends on us. »

    Stiletto FS221-1 spearheads those from the Illuminati escort group, the first of the Stilettos in the tube awaiting launch. Within that cockpit is 1LT Doyle "Stix" O'Connor, his expression firmly set, his breathing steady and calm beneath the heavy helmet. Hand holds the stick, fingers tight around it, strained white beneath black gloves. Gaze flicks down to the radar. That's a hell of a lot of red blips. He swallows, looking out to the sea of stars before him and the rippling weapon fire that exchanges in the distance, past the deck-shield leading to deep space. Missiles leave heated trails, explosions light up the void. Doyle takes a deep breath, eyes closing for the briefest of moments, before they open and he keys his comm, local channel set. «Keep it tight, 221st, and keep your channels open.» A beat. «We're with you, Voodoo. What do you say we sink a Snakier and be home for dinner?»

    Dante nods sourly. "Good." "13th Battlegroup. Report in." "TCS Ball's Bluff Control reporting in." "TCS Honor Control reporting in. TCS Joan D'arc Control reporting in." "TCS Pugilist Control reporting in." And then there's the odder one: "TCS Tyson. Plan is green. We are en-route." Dante nods, "Battle stations." and then he grabs the radio for the Majestic, "TCS Majestic. This is your captain speaking. Battle stations. Battle stations. 13th Carrier Group, prepare to rally."

    Strapped into his cockpit securely, Kell silently waits for the 'go' orders to come through and his turn to shoot out of the Majestic's launch tube. He does take a moment to pull out a small photograph out of a pocket and glance at it, a picture of his military parents, which he idly gazes over for a few seconds. He then decides to set it against the sloped canopy of his ship, above and to the side of his HUD. As an update comes in, the young Lieutenant quickly scans over his fighter status checklist one more time, making sure everything is green and good to go. He knows the flight crew always keeps his fighter in top shape when they can and his faith in them is unshakeable. Kell will also need to borrow some paint as well as he had an idea on what to do for his nose art but that can wait.

    «Beagle here. Following your lead, Voodoo.» Alec clenches the flight stick, white-knuckled under his flight gloves. His eyes flick over the cockpit instruments, making urgent last-minute checks, fiddling with settings, running through the soon-to-come manic first seconds in his head, clearing his mind. "Great idea, McGrath," he mutters to himself. "Fight the good fight. Jesus…"

    Kanani waits for the call to launch as she sits in the small cockpit of her fighter, and looks over all the displays to make sure everything's working fine. Once she's certain everything is in good working order, she readies herself for the upcoming launch and fight, settling into the seat just a bit,

    Iceblade sits in his Rapier, last in the line to launch for the 1087th squadron. He sits back and lets out a sigh, closing his eyes briefly to collect his thoughts and focus his senses. As he opens his eyes, he makes a few final adjustments and checks before sitting his hands in their proper locations. Iceblade is settled in and ready for a fight. A fight he hopes to win and return from. The first all-out fleet combat action he will face and hopefully not the last. This is the first time he must defend so many people, the first time he must protect his home-base from destruction, the first time he must protect people he so dearly cares out, his thoughts actually jump to Paz and Sandra above others. He checks in with a calm voice and still expression, «Iceblade here, reporting all green.» Iceblade is ready.

    The Junction System Militia's fight is going far better than could be hoped for, in truth. Only a handful of their ships have been destroyed, and at least three Lumbari drift broken, spilling troops and supplies into space. It has also managed to -fully- grab the attention of the Kilrathi, as they continue to send the majority of their starfighters, and escorts to engage the non-military pilots. The arrival of Majestic and her battlegroup take the Kilrathi by surprise. It will give the men and women of the 13th Carrier Battle Group a chance to do some real damage, before exposed to much danger, themselves. The time to launch is near. Once launched, a number of Kilrathi fighters are in the vicinity of the Majestic, as are a pair of Ralari-class destroyers, and two Kamekh's.

    Dante snarls, "Jenthson, now would be the time" and then grabs the radio for the rest of the battlegroup. "Ignore the corvettes and go directly for the destroyers. Designation Kilo Delta Delta Alpha and Kilo Delta Delta Bravo. Watch the deck, estimating flak ring at eight thousand clicks." The 13th battlegroup swings into action, using the enormous momentum generated by the slingshot effect to maximum advantage. The Honour immediately begins launching starfighters, batteries facing any enemy fighter that looks likely to come near it. Guns on every deck of every ship burst into action, turning the black void of space into a literal laser lightshow the likes of which will probably burn into the mind of every pilot who survives it. It's the stuff PTSD is made from. The TCS Pugilist bravely flies directly in on Fralthi1, while the other, larger ships maneuver themselves, hoping for a slaughter, rather than a pounding match. "All ships report in." "We're go." "Go." "Go." "Go." "Go." "TCS Tyson moving into position. ETA two one seconds." The Battle of Junction has begun.

    The Majestic goes from being a sword of light to being a sword of flame, burning bright as it's spews forth it's fighters in a storm of fire and it's weapons come online and start scattering photons across near space in a pulsing blaze. Saint-Cloud grits his teeth as he orders a change in yaw to try and squeeze their profile against the plots of incoming fire and fighters even thinner. "Bring us to three oh four by oh one nine mark twelve and light up everything in our path. We are The Blade, gentleman.. Time to spay and neuter."

    «<And, the greenlight is lit!»> The second that Control gives the fighters' clearance for launch, Pip's punching the throttle, and riding the steel cat free of Majestic into the storm of friendly fire. The Majestic appears to spit fire, as its tubes begin to rapidly empty every active fighter from the carrier, all forming up into squadrons with a precision rarely seen amongst such chaos.

    A crisp English accent intones over the 27ths TacNet. «<Tally-ho, 27th. I repeat Tally-ho»> Weapons are free for the Majestic's fighter wing, and the Major is quick to take advantage of the lull. He dives straight in on the nearest Kamekh, since that bitch has torpedoes, and is likely going to be rearing to use them, just as soon as it finishes maneuvering into position. «<Voodoo. Pip. Do a gent a favor. Kiss that fat bitch for me, please.»> A grin, and he's full-throttle, afterburner glowing, tearing-ass for the bridge of the enemy torpedo boat, releasing an IR missile with just enough time for it to arm, and lock, and then rocketing toward the slow-to-respond starfighters enroute. «<Do try and keep up, IceBoy.»> Humour floods the comm, to his rookie wingman. All of the stress of the previous briefing has left the old-stick.

    Swoosh… WHUMP. Ahh, the lovely little jarring feeling of clearing the carrier's launch tubes, making the break from atmosphere to vacuum. Cole's bomber swings around hard as it moves clear from the Majestic, moving out of the way of the launches to follow. His eyes immediately flicker to his radar, taking in a glance at the situation. « Voodoo to bombers. Audible. Through the escorts, one torpedo only, then press to the Snakier. Voodoo has lead Kamekh, Beagle has the trailing one. Frolic on the portside Ralari, Chum on the starboard. Aim for the bridge. Let's lop off some heads. »

    The order to launch comes, and Doyle turns his helmeted head to watch the deck officer as he gestures wildly with his neon baton. Without even thinking about it, Doyle slams the throttle forward as he rockets into space, clearing the bay shield and tearing straight into the fray of the battle. His cockpit rattles violently with the extreme speeds, his arm shaking against the feedback from the flightstick, and he snaprolls the Stiletto to and fro as Kilrathi fighters weave past his vision. «Light 'em up!» He snaps into his comm, flicking over to his heat-seekers and yanking up on the stick, the wings of his Stiletto groaning as speed is suddenly cut so severely. He pulls into the tail of a reeling Sartha and fires off a heatseeker, diving straight down to avoid any flak and attempt to regroup. «Keep it close with the bombers, don't let anyone through the net!»

    Once the order to launch is given, the Stiletto carrying Kanani leaps out of the Majestic like a bat out of hell. «Tsunami here, I'm clear, and ready to go.» She states as in a happy coincidence she finds herself quickly on the tail of one of the Cat's fighters. On getting a lock, she releases a missile, stating calmly. «Fox two.»

    Once the go order is given, Kell watches as the fighters waiting in front of him begin to spill out of the launch bay and when it is his turn, his own engines glow bright as his Stiletto picks up speed. He also exits the launch bay in quick order so those behind can have their turn and once out in the depth of space, Razor quickly forms up with his squadron. As orders are quickly given by their squadron leader, he sends back a quick acknowledgement of orders and moves in to engage.

    Sticking in close vicinity of the Broadswords from the 13th Squadron, Razor flicks a switch to switch over to Heat Seeker and it doesn't take him long to latch onto the tail of a Kilrathi, a Sartha as well. His sleek and nimble fighter slices through the vacuum and cuts the distance between himself and the Sartha, waiting for the tone to go solid while sticking to the cat's tail. Once one is achieved, Kell depresses the trigger stub on his flight stick, launching his first Heat Seeker.

    Alec says, "Nnnnnnnngh!" Alec's voice is a surprised, strangled scream, the pilot unfamiliar with the feeling of a carrier tube launch - let alone the feeling of a tube launch coming on the tail-end of a stellar slingshot. The rattling, stressed Broadsword shoots into the boiling maelstrom, and McGrath fights against the launch velocity to turn into the brewing melee, torpedo lock pinging as his target finder spots the designated Kamekh. «Understood, Voodoo!» he half-yells through teeth locked in a rictus grin, wide-eyed with adrenalin."

    Phillip doesn't have to wait long for the launcher to send his fighter free. Soon afterward, Iceblade is rocketing into space and pulling to one side of Jenthson in the seamless and tight formation of the flight wing. «Roger Lead, Iceblade giving the kitty-kats a little present.» Iceblade comms as he follows alongside Jenthson. He sets his guns real quick to neutrons and begins a quick spray of shots to reduce the bomber's shields before switching to IR for a quick lock and shot. With little preamble, Iceblade launches his missile at the sound of the ping and calls in «Fox one.» After launching the IR, he pulls back into formation with Pip.

    <COMBAT> Ralari3 passes.
    <COMBAT> Draygo attacks Sartha-1 with Heat Seeker - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 passes.
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi1 with Heavy Laser - Moderate wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi1 with Heavy Laser - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Dralthi1 - NEAR MISS!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi2 with Heavy Laser but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi3 with Heavy Laser but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi4 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Grikath1 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Kanani attacks Sartha-3 with Heat Seeker - Serious wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Kamekh2 passes.
    <COMBAT> Kamekh1 passes.
    <COMBAT> Jenthson attacks Grikath1 with Image Recognition - Moderate wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Grikath2 passes.
    <COMBAT> Dralthi3 passes.
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Fralthi2 with Light Am - Serious wound to Engines (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Chum attacks Ralari2 with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Cargo (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson passes.
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Fralthi1 with Heavy Am - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Grikath1 with Heavy Laser - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Grikath1 with Heavy Laser - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Sartha-1 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Sartha-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Sartha-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Fralthi1 with Light Am but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir passes.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2 passes.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 passes.
    <COMBAT> Ralari2 passes.
    <COMBAT> Ralari1 passes.
    <COMBAT> Phillip attacks Grikath1 with Image Recognition - Serious wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Grikath1 passes.
    <COMBAT> Frolic attacks Ralari1 with Torpedo - Serious wound to Bridge.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Ralari1 - Moderate wound to Left Leg.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Ralari1 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.
    <COMBAT> Fralthi2 passes.
    <COMBAT> Fralthi1 passes.
    <COMBAT> Dralthi4 passes.
    <COMBAT> Dralthi2 passes.
    <COMBAT> Dralthi1 passes.
    <COMBAT> Doyle attacks Sartha-2 with Heat Seeker - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Cole attacks Kamekh1 with Torpedo but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Alec attacks Kamekh2 with Torpedo - Critical wound to Bridge (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Kamekh2 - Serious wound to Left Arm.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Kamekh2 - Moderate wound to Abdomen.
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Fralthi2 with Torpedo - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
    <COMBAT> Dralthi-7665y has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi1 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Grikath-1982k has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Grikath1 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Kamekh2 has been KO'd!
    <OOC> Jenthson says, "Ok. Scene pose upcoming."

    The Kilrathi took a hammering in the opening salvos from the Confederation fleet, but it could have been much, much worse. One of the Kamekhs is torn apart by the newest bomber pilot's dead-eye torpedo, gutting the small capital from bridge to arse. While, a Fralthi and a Ralari are not in much better shape, already beginning to drift, though they try to contribute to the fight. As it stands, the Kilrathi are not slow to get their act together, as the remaining capitals, and a handful of newly arrived bombers begin to engage the fleet. All around, fighters from Majestic and Honour begin to engage their Kilrathi counter-parts. The Junction System Militia have neared the end of their own rope, though. The more experienced Kilrathi are simply beginning to win out, and the militia begin to break, having left much of the troop transports intact, to the rear.

    The 13th Battlegroup descends upon the Kilrathi fleet, fighting, as ordered by Commodore Claybourne, like dogs. Pilots will immediately find themselves in the middle of a torrential downpour of antimatter and lasers alike. One can probably get killed without anyone actually trying to do so, at this point, the missed shots are just as deadly as the ones that strike. The TCS Ball's Bluff and the Joan D'arc fly broadsides with one of the two Fralthis, slamming shots into the hull and giving the Kilrathi destroyer a pounding it will never forget. The Honour's deck guns tear into several Kilrathi fighters and bombers as well. The radio chatter is telling. "Majestic, we have initiative." "Pugilist, this is the TCS Honour. Please move bearing zero zero nine mark one one." "Pugilist Control here. Copy. Moving on your order. Preparing for launch." Static crosses through the radio link, and Dante smiles to himself, clearly waiting for exactly this. "TCS Tyson." "Tyson here." "You have an opening Tyson. get to it." "On it, sir." The TCS Tyson absolutely -screams- into the scene, the corvette moving at insane speeds and presenting itself as a tactical surprise that the Kilrathi's battleplan, already adapting to the situation, will have no chance to be ready for. It is, as they say, getting free punches. "You are cleared. Let's see what these bastards do."

    Saint-Cloud frowns as he tracks his own shots and curses. He retracks, sending updated information to his gun teams, cross coordinating movements, including his own. "Bring us about 5 degrees and keep us perpendicular to the Tyson.. Guns! Full spread on this arc! Grids 5 through 24 on the lower elliptical node," he says, even though he sends the orders digitally as well. He is smiling, however as the Tyson is being brought into play. "See how you like THAT you bastards."

    «<Fine bit of shooting, Beagle.»> And, yes…the WingCO -does- read the files of those pilots transferred to the 27th! But, then it is back to slipping through flak, and weapons fire…."I'd bugger Satan for a dumbfire, right about now…" Pip's cursing to himself in the cockpit, as yet more bombers appear to be making an attack run on the fleet. «<Ice Queen. Grikaths at our three o'clock. Let's see what we can't do about that. This time, see if you can't target a fighter that isn't already being shot at.»> A scowl appears at the appearance of a familiar looking paint job…«<One of them is an Elite, kid. I don't have a shot. Take him.»> He quite honestly, has no shot, as flak forces him to divert from intercepting Yal'wah, and instead blasting a snap-shot from all four guns at the ace's wingman.

    Cole curses under his flight helmet as his own torpedo sails wide of the corvette it was aimed for, flying off harmlessly into space. He flexes his hand inside its glove again, shaking his head slightly and watching the other warheads track into their targets. « Good hits, Cats. We've done what we can to thin the escorts out, onto the Snakeir! Frolic and Chum go for the engines. Beagle, we'll hit the flight deck. See how well she deals with torpedo runs fore and aft. » Cole orders. « Mind the flak. It is not your mate. Escorts, we're counting on you for those fighters. » All the while, Voodoo's Broadsword tracks in towards that heavy carrier, lining up practically like he's making a landing approach on the thing, daring it to hit him as he toggles off his second torpedo.

    Doyle's first missile sinks into the armored plating of the Sartha, sending it spiraling with thick black smoke pouring free from its wing, but it continues to remain in the fight. «Element of surprise is over, pull back and cover those bombers.» The order is transmitted to his wing, his voice remaining calm in its thick Irish drawl. He loops his Stiletto, gritting his teeth as he almost flies directly into an exchange of fire between the TCS Ball's Bluff and a Fralthi. He catches sight of Kanani's missile slamming into a Sartha and near-flipping the vessel, and he keys his comm. «Good shot, Tsunami, finish that kitten off.» He swings the Stiletto back around in a gutsy maneuver, pulling right around the front of Cole's Broadsword and buzzing right over his canopy. «You worry about the big bastards, Voodoo, we'll worry about your arses.» He sends off another heat seeker directly towards the cockpit of a Dralthi trying to get lock on Cole's 'Sword from behind. «Missile away.»

    Kanani snorts faintly as her missile slams into the fighter, doing a bunch of damage, but not killing it. «Roger that, finishing him off.» She states, as she lines up for another shot on the Sartha, especially since it has eyes for the new bomber pilot.

    "YES!" Alec manages to resist the urge to take a hand off the throttle and punch the air as internal fires rip through his former target. Teeth still gritted as he tries to take stock of the chaos, he banks Broadsword 2 hard, bringing the bomber up and over the doomed Kamekh like a stone skipping off water. Receiving Voodoo's order, he looks for the Snakeir - and he can hardly miss it. The bulbous Kilrathi carrier hangs against the blackness of space, thrown into stark relief by the cauldron of laser fire. His torpedo lock begins pinging again, his eyes narrow, and his thumb hovers on the release. "Alright, now," he tells himself, following the carrier's landing lights with his eyes, trying to bring his initial crazy rush under control. "The one that matters…"

    As Jenthson's missile and fire from the surrounding Capships bear down on the bomber, Iceblade's IR missile screams right in the Grikath wiping it out of existence. «Reporting, one kitty-Kat bomber in a cold embrace.» Iceblade comms as he pulls to Jenthson's side with some distance in-between. Ice remains vigilant for anything gunning for him. In the mess of laserfire, flak, missile streaks, and swarming fighters; it is hard to detect if anything is attacking him, but he spots the Sartha bearing for him and begins to dodge anything the Sartha throws at him while keeping with his Wing Leader and whatever he is tailing. After receiving Jenthson's orders, he maintains his vector which bores right for the Kilrathi Ace. A ping quickly comes and Iceblade launches his second IR with a quick comm «Nice to see you again kitty, but departing is such sweet sorrow.»

    The initial ambush wasn't as spectacular as Kell had hoped for but the Confed forces, including himself, got their licks in. With space lighting up with weapon fire all over, Razor knows that it's going to be half luck and half skill to stay out of random fire that may be blossoming from ships on both sides.

    Instead of sticking to the tail of his current target, Kell quickly checks the location of the Broadswords and sees that they are peeling off to another target, the main target. The young Lieutenant does the same, pulling away from the damaged Sartha to remain with the Bomber group to fly cover for them. It isn't long before the Kilrathi fighter cover for their capital ships come into view, diving down on the bombers. Picking one of the Dralthis that are attacking the bombers, Razor quickly fires off his second Heat Seeker, either to destroy or force the hostile to peel off.

    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Ralari1 with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Bridge (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Fralthi1 with Light Am - Light wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Phillip attacks Yal'wah Nar Kiranka with Image Recognition but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Phillip's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Kanani attacks Sartha-3 with Heat Seeker - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Kamekh1 attacks TCS Honour with Torpedo - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Grikath2 attacks TCS Honour with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Frolic attacks Snakeir with Torpedo - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Draygo attacks Dralthi3 with Heat Seeker - Critical wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Dralthi4 attacks Doyle with Heat Seeker - Serious wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Doyle - Serious wound to Head.
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Fralthi2 with Light Am - Light wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Bomber-3 attacks TCS Honour with Torpedo - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Yal'wah Nar Kiranka attacks TCS Honour with Torpedo - Critical wound to Flight Deck.
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Ralari3 with Torpedo - Serious wound to Weapon (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Fralthi1 with Heavy Am - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Snakeir fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Alec with Heavy Flak - Light wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Alec with Heavy Flak - Critical wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Alec - Serious wound to Chest.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Alec - Serious wound to Chest.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Alec - Serious wound to Neck.
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Cole with Heavy Flak - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Cole with Heavy Flak - Moderate wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Doyle with Heavy Flak - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Doyle with Heavy Flak - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 attacks Alec with Dumbfire and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2 attacks Jenthson with Dumbfire and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 attacks Phillip with Dumbfire but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi2 with Heavy Laser - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi2 with Heavy Laser - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi3 with Heavy Laser - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Dralthi4 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Saint-cloud attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Ralari3 attacks TCS Joan D'arc with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Ralari2 attacks Saint-cloud with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Ralari1 attacks Saint-cloud with Heavy Flak and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson attacks Bomber-2 with Full Guns - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> Fralthi2 attacks TCS Joan D'arc with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Fralthi1 attacks TCS Joan D'arc with Light Am but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi3 attacks Cole with Heat Seeker and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi2 attacks Kanani with Heat Seeker and MISSES!
    <TinyPlot> Jenthson says, "yikes"
    <COMBAT> Doyle attacks Dralthi3 with Heat Seeker and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Cole attacks Snakeir with Torpedo - NEAR MISS!
    <COMBAT> Chum attacks Snakeir with Torpedo but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2 attacks TCS Honour with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <TinyPlot> Draygo says, "That did not look good."
    <COMBAT> Alec attacks Snakeir with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
    <COMBAT> Alec has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Doyle has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi-6265y has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi2 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi-6365y has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi3 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Fralthi-2863g has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Fralthi2 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Ralari-6018r has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Ralari1 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Yorktown-4721j has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> TCS Honour has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Doyle spends a luck point to keep fighting!
    <COMBAT> Alec spends a luck point to keep fighting!

    The Kilrathi strike back. Their Snakeir has very talented flak gunners, it would appear. They are able to cripple the bomber flight, and their escorts, but yet more bombers are en route. The bombers do their jobs, as well…pumping torpedoes into the poor Honour, which while a salvageable ship, is quite close to being a wreck. It is not all bad, though. One of the Fralthi-class ships in the immediate vicinity begins to break apart, a victim of concentrated gunnery, with Majestic striking one of the killing blows, tearing the ship into separate halves. The Kilrathi are still confident, as the elite bomber squadron are shifting their fire to another target, having eliminated Honour as a threat. She can be killed once the true battle has been won.

    The Rhinos are also having success on their front, though holes have begun to appear in the squadron's formation. Three more of her 'Swords have fallen to enemy starfighters, and concentrated flak, but another Fralthi and Ralari have fallen to their torpedoes. Their escorts are fighting for their lives, as Raptors and Scimitars twist and turn with nearly three times their numbers in fighters, trying to keep the precious torpedo-loaded starships alive.

    Dante smokes his cigar down to a butt, which he puts out on his console. He smiles faintly as things begin to go his way, though the Honour takes a god awful pounding. As parts of the TCS Honour are torn to pieces by torpedo hits, the Commodore narrows his gaze. He knows what's coming. He also knows he can't do a thing to stop it. "This is the TCS Honour. We're getting our asses kicked out here, fleet." Crosschatter continues: "*static* Fire on decks seven, eight, and nine. We've got hull breaches o*BOOM*" Dante picks up the comm, "TCS Ball's Bluff and Joan D'arc. Form a picket line with the TCS Majestic. I reckon this just turned into a shooting war." The TCS Honour does not explode into a billion pieces. Reality is crueler. The lights simply go out. All of them. The ship drifts in space, fires obvious on all decks. The lights aren't on. Nobody's home. At the very least, the engines aren't working. The turrets aren't tracking. It's hard to say if all hands are lost. On a ship that large, it's unlikely, but she is out of the fight. "Pugilist. Tyson. Target Designation Kilo Kilo Romeo Beta is your mark. Finish that goddamned cruiser off." He turns to the helm. "Take us around heading one one seven. I want all guns focused with the rest of the group. We're going to finish this off piecemeal. Someone get me the Kilrathi fleet commander." He waits and, moments later, gets exactly that. He grins into the screen. "Goodbye, kitty. You cock sucking, inbred piece of shit. When we're done with you I reckon I'm gonna skullfuck you, and then pass your skull around so everyone on the ship gets sloppy seconds." He turns to the communications officer. "Disconnect me."

    «<Fuck.»> It is a simple enough statement, reported over the 27th's flight channel. Pip's voice has lost all earlier sense of enthusiasm. «<For those that missed it, they just killed the Honour. Let's jam ourselves up their arses, 27th.»> Jenthson's Rapier is thrown into a full throttle pursuit of his earlier Grikath target, though he does not fire into its six. The English pilots uses his starfighter's superior speed to outrun the bomber, and then dives down from above, squeezing off a salvo of guns at its cockpit as his racks are empty of IR missiles.

    The Rhinos are being eaten up by a squadron of Hhriss fighters that have just boiled free of the Snakeir, though they manage to down the final Kamekh on their wing of the Kilrathi flight, in the process of losing another pair of Broadswords. The Raptors flying escort, and those flying space superiority are holding their own, though. But, with the Snakeir still able to launch its absurd complement of fighters, it just doesn't seem to be enough.

    His Broadsword is hit, his torpedo is exploded by flak just short of its target… but, Cole doesn't seem too terribly phased by the turn of events, at least not yet. « Right. Cooler, Mongo, Skates. Begin your runs on the carrier. Take whatever shot you can get. Chum and Frolic, keep pressing the attack. We need to bring her down, fast. Beagle, if you're still alive in there, get the hell out. » There's a momentary pause, the Australian Captain's battered bomber swinging in a lazy arc, before it turns back in again towards the carrier's flight deck. "Come on, you bastard. Let's see what you've got" he grumbles under his helmet.

    Phillip easily dodges the dumbfire of the Sartha as he launches his IR. Unfortunately, decoys and the heavy flak from the Honour causes Iceblade's missile to swing wide just as the Kilrathi ace launches his torpedo and pulls away. Seeing this Iceblade quickly starts aiming for the torp, but his shots miss as the torpedo speeds out of sight into the Flight deck of the Yorktown class carrier resulting in extreme explosions inside and knocking out the ship's power seconds later. Iceblade now focuses heavily upon the ace, bearing down on the Grikath and unleashing volley after volley of lasers and neutrons. «Death will take you this day, Kat. Count on it.» Iceblade comms harshly but in a normal volume.

    It was all lined up perfectly, he could have sworn… and then, a sudden sharp crash switched off the world. The bomber drifts out of control, the torpedo shot going wide, far wide. McGrath blinks, near-stunned, unable to make sense of the instruments, the battle, why he's having to fight for breath, or why he can't feel his left arm.

    Panic seizes him as the pain becomes noticeable and quite urgent, but the sudden command snaps him back to reality. He pulls the Broadsword back around towards his home carrier - his right hand tugging at the stick, his left struggling to open communications. «Un-understood, Voodoo.» He coughs, forcing the words out, trying not to think about where he might be bleeding. «Majestic, this is B-beagle… requesting permission to land.»

    «Beagle, this is Majestic Control. You are cleared for approach. Hard deck is seven point two degrees, please be advised.» In other words, come in low, or the deck guns may tear you to shreds.

    As the Sartha she had been chasing, seeks non Broadsword targets in another yard, Kanani quickly switches her target to the Dralthi that has started to chase the 13th's CO. The moment her final heat seeker gets a lock on the fighters engines, she launches it, with a «Fox two.» as a warning to any friendlies to not accidentally pick it up.

    Paz doesn't bother replying the transmission over the command channel, merely double clicking her mic to signal her reception. At the moment, she's a little on the busy side. Her image recognition missile's tracker head is seeking out one of the Grithka aces who have been plaguing her and her squadmates for weeks now, and there's no way she's going to let a hunt this important slide for the likes of a mere Commodore. "C'mon baby…." she whispers to herself, making constant adjustments to her attitude and vector to paint the enemy ship as cleanly as possible. "Come on…come on….just a little more…." A reassuring warbling fills her headphones as Paz squeezes the trigger.

    The heat from the Dralthi's engine was glowing hot, hot enough for Kell's missile to track it rather easily as it flies on a speedy intercept course, impaling right through the armor due to its incredible speed and detonating inside the engine modules. What follows is a brilliant explosion as the Dralthi blasts apart, the half moon wings shattering and flying outwards. The victory is short lived though as Razor sees his squadron leader taking a nasty hit from another Dralthi who was flying cover for his kitty wingman.

    The mission parameters for Razor doesn't change as he continues to focus on protecting the Broadswords of the 13th Bomber Squadron. Where one Kilrathi that was gunning for the 'Swords is removed, more are there to take its place as a pair of Krants show up. Selecting one of the heavily armored fighters, Razor's faster fighter catches up while keeping half an eye on the Sartha bearing down on him. Once in range, a burst of Mass Driver Cannon fire is shot out at the Krant and at the last second, he breaks his Stiletto hard to port, evading the Dumbfire that was screaming towards him.

    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Ralari2 with Heavy Am - Light wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Skates attacks Snakeir with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2 attacks Jenthson with Dumbfire and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 attacks Draygo with Dumbfire but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Mongo attacks Snakeir with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Krant-1 attacks Mongo with Friend Or Foe - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Kanani attacks Dralthi4 with Heat Seeker - Serious wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Kanani's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Frolic attacks Snakeir with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull.
    <COMBAT> Fralthi1 attacks Dante with Light Am - Light wound to Cargo (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Draygo attacks Krant-1 with Mass Driver - Moderate wound to Weapon.
    <COMBAT> Cole attacks Snakeir with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-3 attacks TCS Tyson with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Yal'wah Nar Kiranka attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Fralthi1 with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Fralthi1 - Light wound to Chest.
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Ralari2 with Light Am - ARMOR on Engines stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Chum with Heavy Flak - Moderate wound to Nose.
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Chum with Heavy Flak - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Frolic with Heavy Flak and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Frolic with Heavy Flak and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Cooler with Heavy Flak and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Cooler with Heavy Flak and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir attacks Mongo with Heavy Flak and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Ralari3 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Ralari2 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Light Am but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Phillip attacks Yal'wah Nar Kiranka with Full Guns - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Paz attacks Yal'wah Nar Kiranka with Image Recognition - Critical wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Krant-2 attacks Skates with Friend Or Foe but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Kamekh1 attacks Dante with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson attacks Bomber-2 with Full Guns - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Grikath2 attacks TCS Tyson with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Dralthi4 attacks Cole with Heat Seeker and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Ralari2 with Light Am - Light wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Cooler attacks Snakeir with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Chum attacks Snakeir with Torpedo - Serious wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2 attacks TCS Pugilist with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Alec passes.
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Fralthi1 with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 attacks Phillip with Dumbfire and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Jenthson has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
    <COMBAT> Snakeir-3276c has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Snakeir has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Grikath-4443n has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Yal'wah Nar Kiranka has been KO'd!

    And, even though they might not be the most famous, or well-known members of the 13th, they are the ones that will be remembered after today. Multiple torpedo strikes tear into the Snakeir, trashing its flight decks, tearing outs its guts, and leaving a very twisted wreck of metal as the centerpiece of a once mighty Kilrathi Battlegroup. The loss of war material is astounding, as repair facilities, dozens of still launching fighters, and thousands of furry-lives are lost in minutes. It is a rather fantastic explosion, as the once dense flak ring -ceases- to be, and bits of once-great warship replace them.

    There is a downside. Where there once two-hundred plus Kilrathi starfighters with a nice warm place to land, after a hard day's night of ape-killing…there are now two-hundred plus ultra-pissed off fuzzie-wuzzies on the ultimate revenge, and desperation filled jihad. If they can kill these hairless beasts, they can still escort their troop transports onto some sort of victory, until reinforcements arrive. Alas, they will do it without their most famed Grikath pilot, as Baron Yal'wah nar Kiranka is eliminated by a very well-placed, and well-timed missile from one of the Minutemen. It is fitting that Tizona should get the kill, as it was the Minutemen that watched the famous pilot gut Majestic's escorts, once before.

    A chorus of cheers resound aboard the bridge of the TCS Majestic, but Dante isn't cheering. Instead he's reaching for another cigar, which he lights without cheer. Shots rock the hull of the craft. "Report!" "Damage to cargo hold." "Shields?" "Starboard is down 87 percent." "Put everything in from port side. Fleet, report." "TCS Ball' Bluff reports minor hull damage." "Joan D'arc here. Not a scratch on us." "TCS Pugilist reports no damage and shields at full." "TCS Tyson. We have two crew dead. Fire in the engine room." "Button up. Ball's Bluff and Joan D'arc, get those shields at maximum. Kitties are going to want payback and I won't have anyone getting kamikazi'd. Pugilist and Tyson, you are low priority targets. Weapons free. Let's end this."

    Cole's torpedo might have missed, but those from the rest of his flight certainly didn't… and Cole's bomber banks away from what once was Snakeir and now is debris. « Good shooting, Cats. Objective is down. Free for all, pick a target and make a mess. » Cole says with a little grin visible on his face, his own bomber banking towards the remaining Kilrathi cruiser. Might as well go big game hunting with that last fish.

    «<Jesus Christ, look at her go….»> That's Pip's initial reaction to the destruction of the Snakeir, before throwing his ship into an evasive roll, narrowly avoiding the last dumbfire courtesy of the Sartha on his six. «<Nice going, Black Cats.»> A grim smile forms, as he passes the quickly disintegrating wreckage of the Kilrathi noble…«<And, Paz? Drinks are on me, for a month.»> Firing stud is depressed, as he manages a leading shot on his bomber target, trying to take down the bomber that is trying to down the Pugilist. «<Watch yourselves, pilots. It looks like they've lost their cool.»>

    All around the battlefield, Kitty fighters have begun to take big risk, big reward gambles, throwing everything they've got into killing the humans. For them, it is no retreat time, now. The Honour's pilots, as well as the Raptors off of Majestic began to reap benefits from this strategy, though it is not an uncommon sight to see a damaged Dralthi or Sartha throw itself into a Terran fighter in its dying throes.

    Iceblade's shots keep hitting the ace, tearing through shield and armor alike, but the ace keeps maneuvering his bomber so that each shot hits another armored piece. Just then the Kilrathi makes a fatal roll as he veers right towards an IR missile that came streaking out of nowhere like a bat out of hell. Needless to say the armorless ace was wiped out by a hairless ape. «Yes, take that you sucka. And Congratulations to whomever shot that ace to hell.» Iceblade then notices as a dumbfire flies past him. "Ha looks like my tail can't shoot shit." Iceblade then locks onto and burns for another bomber and begins to pepper it with as much gun fire as his Rapier can shoot.

    His vision mercifully remaining clear enough to be able to bring the Broadsword down onto the flight deck, McGrath slumps in his seat, pulling at his fastenings. Behind him, he can hear the access hatch being opened, and there, he hopes, there will be painkillers and some people who can dig bits of cockpit out of him. But before he's gently manhandled out of the bomber, he hears Cole's bombastic transmission, and Jenthson's vindication… and smiles. The feeling of relief is almost as good as morphine.

    Kanani switches over to guns, as her last missile does a fair bit of damage to the Dralthi she's chasing. Once the fighter flies into her sights, she pulls the trigger, unleashing mass driver rounds at the Cat, hoping to finish it off, finally.

    Things are going pretty well for Razor right now as he is able to sideslip the lethal Dumbfire from the Sartha while his quick burst of Mass Driver Cannon fire peppers the Krant, dealing some damage to the Kilrathi fighter. Since the Krant continues to gun for the 'Swords he is supposed to protect, Kell continues to focus on the same target but this time, he switches to his last Heat Seeker missile. As he closes in on the distance, keeping his targeting reticule on the Krant, a solid tone is heard. Depressing the trigger stub, Kell launches his last missile, sending it screaming towards its intended target with lethal intent.

    «Adios, Baron.» Paz calls coolly as her missile tears into the enemy ace's ship and turns it into a flaming coffin for the famous Fuzzy within. «Iceblade, Tizona, muchos gracias, amigo.» she replies, sounding strangely unmoved by the event. Or, perhaps, too busy lining up to her final image rec at another Grikath before it hurts someone.
     
  16. Iceblade

    Iceblade Admiral

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    Battle of Junction Part 2

    <COMBAT> Ralari2 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Light Am but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2 attacks Jenthson with Neutron - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Phillip attacks Bomber-3 with Full Guns - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Kanani attacks Dralthi4 with Mass Driver - Light wound to Body.
    <COMBAT> Grikath2 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Draygo attacks Krant-1 with Heat Seeker - Critical wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Ralari2 with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Cole attacks Fralthi1 with Torpedo - Serious wound to Flight Deck.
    <COMBAT> Cole's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Fralthi1 with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Fralthi1 with Torpedo - Critical wound to Hull.
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Ralari2 with Heavy Am - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Ralari2 with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Skates attacks Kamekh1 with Torpedo - Serious wound to Bridge (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Kamekh1 - Serious wound to Left Foot.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Kamekh1 - Moderate wound to Right Foot.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 attacks Phillip with Neutron and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 attacks Paz with Neutron - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Ralari3 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Paz attacks Grikath2 with Image Recognition - Moderate wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Paz's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Mongo attacks Kamekh1 with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Krant-2 attacks Skates with Friend Or Foe - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Krant-1 attacks Mongo with Friend Or Foe and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Kamekh1 attacks Dante with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson attacks Bomber-2 with Full Guns - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Frolic attacks Ralari2 with Torpedo - Serious wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Ralari2 - Serious wound to Abdomen.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Ralari2 - Serious wound to Left Hand.
    <COMBAT> Frolic's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Fralthi1 attacks Dante with Light Am and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi4 attacks Cole with Heat Seeker and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi4's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Cooler attacks Ralari3 with Torpedo - Serious wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Chum attacks Ralari2 with Torpedo - Moderate wound to Hull (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Chum's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Bomber-3 attacks TCS Tyson with Torpedo - ARMOR on Hull stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2 attacks TCS Pugilist with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
    <COMBAT> Dralthi-1365y has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Dralthi4 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Fralthi-2463g has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Fralthi1 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Kamekh1 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Ralari-8118r has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Ralari2 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Ralari-7818r has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Ralari3 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Krant-1 has left the combat. (Bossman)

    And, once again….the less than famous pilots among the 13th do their jobs, assisted by the Venture-class ships. The Kilrathi fleet is utterly decimated, with nothing but a collection of transports, and homeless fighters remaining. The transports are making a run for it, have been for a while. But the starfighters and bombers are making a last ditch attack. Their capital ships are gone, some dying in fiery explosions, others dying quiet deaths unbecoming of great warriors.

    Behold the mother of all lightshows, as the combined might of the Terran Confederation Navy and the Terran Confederation Star Force destroys the Kilrathi battlegroup entirely. Shots continue to rock against the bridge of the TCS Majestic. "Shields." growls the Commodore. "53 percent and holding, but our gun batteries-" "FUCK the gun batteries. That's why we have pilots. Battlegroup. Report. "TCS Ball's Bluff reports shields at 92 percent and holding." "TCS Joan D'arc here. All systems on full. Great shooting out-" Dante interrupts, "Cut the chatter. Status." "We're good, sir." "Pugilist?" "TCS Pugilist reports all systems green. Torpedo bays are exhausted." "Don't need 'em anyway. TCS Tyson." "Shields barely holding. Fire is contained. Also out of anti-ship munitions." Dante nods to himself. "We might just win this war."

    «<Be advised, it appears that the caps are going full AAA. Watch for friendly fire. And nice work, Cats. Again.»> Pip's Rapier has not been nearly as effective as his old Scimitar, in this fight, and if nothing else, it has the WingCO seriously considering pulling some strings to get himself Victoria II, back. It isn't as if the Honour is going to need her, now, is it? A FoF missile jumps off his racks, streaking toward the Grikath target, and hopefully, it is the last shot he'll need in this battle.

    All across the field, great swathes are being cut in the homicidal, and near-suicidal Kilrathi, but blood is still being spilled both ways. A Hhriss paints the 221st Commanding Officer in a head-to-head pass, and wipes the man's Stiletto out of the sky with a single burst, disintegrating the starfighter, and it's pilot. RIP Gee.

    Well, if he's finally going to land a hit, that seemed as opportune a time as any. Cole grins as he lays his shot right into the Fralthi's flight deck, and the ship practically evaporates in front of him. The remaining Kilrathi are treated to a hummed version of a few bars of 'Waltzing Matilda' over an open channel, before Cole's ruined Broadsword begins to maneuver in search of a target… looking to inflict some violence on his Grikath counterparts. « Thirteenth, you've just become interceptor pilots. Finish off those bombers. Skates, RTB and land. » Cole orders his people.

    As Mr. Icey burns for the bomber harassing the Tyson, several brilliant flashes are seen across the Kilrathi fleet as capship after capship is trashed to hell making for a right pretty sight, «Ahha, love it, love it.» Unfortunately, this short distraction results in Iceblade coming about on the tail of the Grikath. His shoots run wider than preferred as Iceblade attempts to dodge the rear turret's shots. He then decides to come in for another pass at it. He pulls away quickly and comes about, burning for it and launching an FF as he closes. All the while, his Sartha tail just shoots and shoots, missing every time.

    Kanani nods in satisfaction, as the Dralthi she was tailing finally breaks apart into itty bitty pieces. Her attention then turns towards the Krant that has managed to shoot up Skates a bit, and she races over to try and take care of the situation, lining up a shot with the intent of putting some rounds into the cat's lap.

    "Dammit." Paz growls as her last Image Rec gets a piece of the Grikath, sending a good handful of hot wire fragments skittering into the enemy ship's engine compartment and igniting a few amusing secondary fires from split fuel lines. But the Grikath isn't dead yet, her pilot coolly diverting fuel flow to healthy cells and continues on in a suicidal frenzy. Then Paz's ship lurches suddenly, her cockpit's screen beginning to fill with damage information. Frowning sharply at the sudden loss of fine control, Paz shuts the annoying thing down and goes to Friend or Foe missiles. The missile's seeker head queries the onrushing Grikath, doesn't like what it finds, and promptly latches on to it. Paz gives a smirk as her head's up display suddenly reads SHOOT!. "Don't mind if I do." she replies and squeezes the trigger.

    With the capital ships all destroyed, Kell's morale is soaring now since this almost impossible battle with improbable odds have turned drastically in the Terran Confederacy's favor. With his last heat seeker homing in on the Krant, it punctures the engine block like it did with the Dralthi earlier, causing a brilliant explosion again as the power plants go critical. Putting his fighter in an inverted roll, Razor follows Kanani in as they both dive in on the second Krant who is trying to pick off the injured Broadsword. «Let's kill this sucker before he shoots up that 'Sword, Tsunami.» Hopefully their concentrated fire will take out the Kilrathi before Skate gets nailed.

    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 attacks Paz with Neutron - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Cooler attacks Bomber-2 with Friend Or Foe - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Phillip attacks Bomber-3 with Friend Or Foe - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Jenthson attacks Bomber-2 with Friend Or Foe - Moderate wound to Body.
    <COMBAT> Cole attacks Bomber-3 with Friend Or Foe - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Bomber-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Bomber-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Bomber-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Grikath2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Grikath2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Grikath2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Krant-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Krant-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Krant-2 with Light Laser - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Krant-2 with Light Laser - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Sartha-1 - Moderate wound to Left Leg.
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Skates passes.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 attacks Phillip with Neutron - Critical wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Phillip - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Phillip - Serious wound to Chest.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Phillip - Moderate wound to Chest.
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2 attacks Jenthson with Neutron but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Mongo attacks Grikath2 with Friend Or Foe - Serious wound to Weapon.
    <COMBAT> Kanani attacks Krant-2 with Mass Driver - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Grikath2 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Grikath2's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Frolic attacks Bomber-3 with Friend Or Foe - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Draygo attacks Krant-2 with Mass Driver - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!
    <COMBAT> Dante fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser - Moderate wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Grikath2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Chum attacks Grikath2 with Friend Or Foe - Serious wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Grikath2 - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Grikath2 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.
    <COMBAT> Bomber-3 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-3's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2 attacks TCS Ball's Bluff with Torpedo and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Krant-2 attacks Skates with Friend Or Foe and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Krant-2's weapon clicks empty.
    <COMBAT> Paz attacks Grikath2 with Friend Or Foe - Serious wound to Engine (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Jenthson has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
    <COMBAT> Grikath-2378w has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-3 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Grikath-8482k has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Grikath2 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Krant-1572w has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Krant-2 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Phillip has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Phillip spends a luck point to keep fighting!

    Once the Capital ship support was gone, the outcome of the rest of the fight was never really in doubt… accurate secondary battery fire from the remaining Confed ships tears through the Kilrathi formation, followed a moment later by a wave of weapons fire from the various fighters still locked in combat. One by one, Kilrathi craft begin to explode and disappear from the sky. Though it's not to say they don't get a hit on occasion…

    With the clean up continuing as more Kilrathi fighters are shot down, Kell watches as his Mass Driver projectiles pepper the Krant, whose thick armor protects it from any real damage. However, Kanani's follow up does the jump as it punches through nicely. «Nice shot, Tsunami. Let's clean up the rest of these fleabags.» Breaking right, Razor goes after the closest hostile and it turns out to be the Sartha he was fighting earlier who is bearing down on Pip's Rapier. His Stiletto's cannons blaze brightly again as more rounds are pumped out.

    Cole orders the rest of his wing back to the Majestic, though his own Broadsword stays doggedly engaged… slipping away from one attacker, driving a missile into another Kilrathi craft… and then turning to meet his latest would-be challenger head on.

    The missile didn't really do much good, but the Sartha finally learned how to hit. The Sartha tail finally come flying out from above and nailed Iceblade multiple times in the cockpit resulting in some nasty scrapnel wounds. "DAMN IT YOU FUCK" Iceblade screams as he manages to get his ship turned around and flying onto the tail of the Sartha. «YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT KITTY!!!» Iceblade screams over the comm as he starts blasting away at the light fighter.

    After getting messed up first by some laser action by the Joan D'arc, the Krant chasing Voodoo, is finished off by Kanani as her shots rip apart what's left of the fighter. «Nice shooting, thanks for the help.» She calls out over the comm, before switching her sights on a pesky damaged Sartha, that had been introduced to her heat seekers earlier in the day, but has foolishly decided to go after a broadsword. She lines up a shot and then quickly opens fire.

    "Okay, that's more like it." Paz grins as her missile along with hits from many, many others, literally disintegrates the Grikath she was chasing. Then, the bastard Sartha on her six, not satisfied with denting her shiny new fighter, attempts to snuff her with a neutron burst. "Okay, asshole…" she breathes, closing her eyes for a split second and taking a deep breath. She's heard of maneuvers like this, but never tried one. "You've now got my complete attention," she sighs as she simultaneously kicks her Rapier into a stomach-churning, retina detaching bootlegger turn ass over teakettle to come racing back up the line at her foe, triggering her weapon the second it tells her to shoot.

    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser - Moderate wound to Nose (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Joan D'arc attacks Sartha-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Phillip attacks Sartha-3 with Full Guns and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Jenthson attacks Bomber-2 with Friend Or Foe - Critical wound to Controls (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Cole attacks Sartha-3 with Friend Or Foe - Critical wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Sartha-3 - Moderate wound to Abdomen.
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Tyson attacks Sartha-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Bomber-2 with Light Laser - Moderate wound to Left Wing (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Sartha-1 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Sartha-2 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Pugilist attacks Sartha-3 with Light Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Sartha-1 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Sartha-1 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Sartha-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Sartha-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> TCS Ball's Bluff attacks Sartha-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 attacks Cole with Neutron and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-2 attacks Jenthson with Neutron but MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Paz attacks Sartha-1 with Friend Or Foe - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Draygo attacks Sartha-2 with Mass Driver - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
    <COMBAT> Dante fires fullauto!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Bomber-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Sartha-1 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Sartha-1 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Sartha-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Sartha-2 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Dante attacks Sartha-3 with Heavy Laser and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2 attacks Draygo with Friend Or Foe and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 attacks Paz with Neutron and MISSES!
    <COMBAT> Kanani attacks Sartha-3 with Mass Driver - Moderate wound to Cockpit.
    <COMBAT> CREW HIT! Sartha-3 - Moderate wound to Left Hand.
    <COMBAT> Cole has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
    <COMBAT> Grikath-7378w has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Bomber-2 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-4688v has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-1 has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-5188v has been KO'd!
    <COMBAT> Sartha-3 has been KO'd!

    The battlefield is empty, save for debris, escape pods, and Confederation starfighters. It takes some time, but the last of the Kilrathi are picked off, and in the 'distance', explosions can be seen, just prior to a small ragged flight of Scimitars and 'Swords entering from stage left, YAHOOing and HEEHAWing over their radios. «<Didya see that sumbitch? We kicked their tails in!»> The troop transports, unescorted of course, have been wiped out…and the local yokel are acting like they just killed the entire fleet on their own.

    With the enemy force almost entirely routed or dead, more cheering goes on in the bridge. Dante? He pulls a bottle of scotch from under his chair, pours himself a shot, downs it, and then slams it on the table. «Major Jenthson, you tell your boys and girls that was excellent shooting. They done real good and I am proud to be serving with them. I do believe this was the turning point of the sector.» There's a pause, and then he continues, «And after you're done giving them blowjobs, you set up a death march of triple CAPs. We're going to toe the line and camp the jump nodes until we can lock this system down. Start this immediately. If you got folks you don't like, then I'd make the honor of first CAP their reward.» And then to the fleet. "12th Battlegroup, that was excellent work. TCS Tyson, you guys really came through. Now if we're all done kissing each other, I believe we got a war to win."

    Iceblade's control systems, while undamaged, still need functional control interfaces, which are yet again to torn to hell. Thus, his shots miss badly. After the last enemies are down, he comms, «Ah shit, this is Iceblade, I'm messed up in the cockpit again and have a fucking bleeding gut. I need to be toed in, yet again.» Iceblade says with rapidly decreasing anguish ending in a rather weak voice. He then starts to rummage for painkillers ignoring all other comms.

    « Voodoo to two-two-one. » Cole calls as his bomber briefly swings in an arc searching for further targets, finally falling back onto a straight course as it finds none. « Hell of a job keeping us clean tonight. We owe you. »

    «<Aye, Majestic-Six. I'll see folks dispatched. And, I'll see Honour's fighters diverted to Junction's primary starbase.»> A pause and Pip quirks his lips, eyeing his VDU, as he checks on status of various squadrons. «<Save for one, mind.»> Keying his comm, he addresses the entirety of the 27th. «<Ladies, Gentlemen. I haven't seen a victory such as this in a very long time. You've done us all proud….now…if you've got damage, enter the landing queue. If you've got any kind of warheads left, and can still fly. Contact Queen, and she'll direct you to your new CAP assignment. The rest of us will search for survivors, and begin marking pods for SAR pick-up. It looks like the Rhinos and Conquistadors got hit especially hard.»> A pause…«<Leave the Kilrathi pods to the locals.»> Which, one must wager, are even less tender than the professionals. His own Rapier enters the CAP around Majestic, so that he can continue to organize patrols, while waiting to land. «<And, if anyone notices Victoria II's transponder? A thousand credits to the man or woman that tells that pilot to land on Majestic., on my order.»>

    And as quickly and dramatically as it began, it's suddenly all over…Once again, the only thing around Paz's flight path are rapidly expanding balls of burning gas and fuel, already starting to snuff themselves out, and of course, a few hundred million tons of debris, tracers and other crap that does bad things to ships who get hit by it. This patch of Junction's just turned into a potentially lethal hazard that'll remain that way for weeks, if not months. Quickly, she kicks her somewhat sick Rapier above the projected arc the computer's displaying and starts to make for home. «Lead, Tizona, I have full ammunition and one Friend or Foe remaining» she reports, killing the mic before she coughs so hard her ship nearly jitters. "Christ all Friday! I get out of sickbay with a throat injury and come down with a fuckin' cold."

    With the last remnants of furry kittens removed from the local area, Razor is finally able to relax slightly as he throttles down to move his Stiletto into formation with the 'Swords from the 13th Bomber Squadron. «Glad to help out, Voodoo. Your bombers did the hard part, great work on that Snakeir. If you guys hadn't stomped it so quickly, we'd be knee deep in cat piss and that wouldn't be pleasant.» The Lieutenant would continue to escort the bombers who remain to pick up the EVAs while sending a message to Queen that he would be glad to be part of the first group of CAPs after refueling and rearming on the Majestic.

    Dante finally begins to relax, for certain values of 'relax', anyway. He smiles. This is a rare sight and those on the bridge who witness it actually stop cheering to gaze in wide-eyed wonder. But it's over as briefly as it began. He picks up the radio. "Engineering, I want teams dispatched to every ship of the fleet who took damage. You'll start with the vettes and work your way up. I want the maximum number of asses in seats in the minimum amount of time." "Yes, sir." "How are -we- doing?" "We lost supplies in cargo. One of the bays is evac, but we're okay." "Get that stitched down." "Twelfth battlegroup, stay in picket formation. Vettes, power down. You're up for repair and reload. Good job."

    «Just doing our job, Voodoo. Just doing our job.» Kanani states with a chuckle and a grin. Upon hearing the Wing Commander and the new orders given, she first checks on how much of her fuel is left, after all the fighting, and then begins to pick her fighter carefully through all the debris and stuff, as she begins to look for any survivors in the battlefield.
     

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