Finder of things, Doer of stuff
And part two of chapter one:
Hope you like it.
“Well, this better be the mess hall or I’m gonna be pissed,” Roman growled in exasperation. The door was clearly marked so the comment was little more than rhetoric.
Wolf shot him a disapproving glance that said you’re the fucker who should have kept his trap shut instead of being a smart ass. After a moment he began ”You know what, Lieutenant Stotch? I don’t know what your trying to pull, But I’ve only known you for an insignificant amount of time. So tone it down if you ever expect me to back you up.”
“Hey man, its cool. I’ was just trying to break into the mould.”
“Whatever, Roman. Just remember who’s on your side. The last guy you want to piss off is the one that fixes your fighter. Now…” Wolf sighed. He wasn’t really sure why he was taking the time with Wild Thing. Maybe he sensed something reassuring about him. Or maybe it was as simple as the commonality of their being the two newest pilots on the Hoover. He continued: ”Now, before we go in there, I’ve never been one for first impressions, so you watch my back, and I’ll watch yours.” Roman nodded.
Wolf hated this part of new assignments. He wasn’t sure what it was about fighter pilots, but he couldn’t stand the pride and arrogance of the showmen – those pilots who lived, not to defeat the kilrathi, but to one up their fellow comrades. He always felt as if the other pilots were suspiciously eyeing him up to determine what kind of threat he posed to their ego’s.
The door slid open to reveal the cafeteria. Various vending machines and dispensing unites surrounded a number of tables, three quarters of which were occupied. The smell of French fries and some kind of meat concoction was wafting over from the galley. Wolf didn’t find it the least bit appetizing.
One of the tables in a far corner near the food line-up had that air that Wolf so dreaded. Six pilots sat at the table eyeing Wolf and Wild Thing as they entered the room. They set their bags against the wall right next to the entrance. No one else seemed to even notice their entrance as they walked to one of the few free tables, which just happened to be the one next to the
One of the pilots, a musician who went by the call sign Beatnik, was playing his rendition of “Take 5” on his clarinet. He had joined the war for the experience. He felt that it would help him put more soul into his music. The Pilot next to him – Jackknife - tapped his arm and motioned to him to look up. As he let the clarinet drop from his mouth the room fell unnervingly quiet. Now all eyes were on Wolf and Wild Thing.
“Ah! Fresh meat.” sneered Jackknife. Jackknife looked as though he would make a better marine than a pilot but his kill score proved that he was just as effective as a pilot.
“Excuse me,” Wolf said as he and Roman took a seat at the adjacent table? He glanced briefly at the rest of the table’s occupants. A pilot who went by the call sign Cupid sat next to Beatnik. She was a French woman who for the most part was very kind and gentle. Her demeanor betrayed her ability as a pilot however, in which she ruthlessly expressed her love for her enemies. She feels that it’s necessary to love the ones you kill. So she would shower the target in red-hot kisses from her laser cannons. And she loved holding the controls to the guided missiles between her legs and sending one off into the enemy’s tail pipe.
Shadow, never said much, or appeared to do anything for that matter, but he was ruthless in combat. Next to him was Player is a man who had only joined the Confederation for the women, or so he said. But he hadn’t been very successful in finding any who would take him seriously enough to let down their inhibitions yet. Peasant tended to be very modest about his achievements, but still allowed a sense of overwhelming pride in that to which he would admit. He had taken down hundreds of Kilrathi, including carrier class vessels.
Jackknife had another trait that proved useful in combat but ineffective around others: Not knowing when to quit. “You’re new here. Nothing more than another bunch of academy noobies.” Wild Thing was ready to jump from his chair but Wolf motioned him to sit back and calm down with a quick gesture of the hand. Jackknife went on “I just hope I don’t have you on my wing trying to shoot at the enemy through me.”
Wolf leaned forward in his chair, half prepared to jump up if the situation called for it. He took a close look at Jackknifes rank markings and then said in a muted tone that still projected his anger “Who do you think I am Private? Do I look like a child…”
Jackknife suddenly realized his mistake in addressing a Lieutenant. “No sir.”
“Yes, well Wild Thing,” Roman offered a little wave, feeling more than a little uncomfortable, “and myself may be new on this ship, but mark my words that I will not hesitate to shoot through you if you greedily get between me and my kill.””
At that Jackknife leapt at Wolf from his seal, which meant over the table. But moments later, beatnik and Peasant had managed to drag Jackknife back into his seat, but not before he had laid one good solid left handed hit on Wolfs right cheek.
“Take it easy,” Beatnik demanded.
“Hey!” Cupid finally spoke which for some reason had the effect of making everyone pay attention. “If were going to be fighting on the same side you’re going to need to learn to get along.” She paused for moment as the rest began to settle back into their seats. “The least we can do is get to know each other before we die.” As the crowd began to return to an easier state she stood from her seat and stepped over to Wolf and Wild Things table. Facing them she placed her hands on the back of a chair and leaned on it. In behind her Beatnik again picked up his clarinet and began playing where he had only moments before left off.
Wild Thing looked up until his eyes met Cupids. It was as if she was examining them, trying to assess whether or not they were going to be trouble. “What’s got him so worked up,” he asked her?
“We’ve had five attacks in only a three days and have lost many pilots in the process,” she replied, “so like beatnik here said” she motioned towards beatnik as he continued to play, “take it easy.
“I guess we did kind of get off on the wrong foot. So I’ll start again. This here is Wild Thing, and I go by Wolf.”
Motioning to the table at which she had been sitting, each of the pilots either nodded or waved as she mentioned their names. “This here is Beatnik as you know, and then next to him is Shadow, Player, Peasant, and of course, I think you’ve been introduced – minus the name – to Jackknife.”
“It’s a damn good thing we’re leaving this system.” Said Jackknife. “I’m getting a little tired of always running defence.” Just then lights started flashing and sirens began wailing for the attention of all the pilots. “Speak of the devil,” he muttered.
Hope you like it.