Ghorah Khar 1
Within the officer barracks, I meet up with Paladin again. I express my surprise since I was not expecting him until the next day, but my Special Ops assignment has been moved up. Paladin wants me ready in half an hour, but I tell him that all I need is ten minutes. Paladin is going to pick up Hobbes and Major Edmond for this assignment as well. Paladin wants the Major since she is the best communications specialist in the sector. Hobbes will be my gunner for the escort mission, so that could mean either the Broadsword, Crossbow, or Sabre as the ship I will fly. I head for the hangar and see Angel. She tells me that she’ll miss my presence, and it looks like this relationship is getting even deeper. I give her a goodbye kiss, and climb into the Crossbow. After takeoff, Paladin tells me over the communications channel that our course is set. Just before autopilot, I make sure everything is ok with the turrets and Hobbes says everything is ready. At the first nav point are Dralthi Drakhris. I do some damage, and they all retreat but Paladin’s ship is all shot up. On the next enemy encounter, there are some stealth fighters trying to protect a Dorkathi transport. One of the fighters stays uncloaked long enough for me to track and shoot at it. That fighter is destroyed by my guns, so I guess he figured his piloting would help him do better than cloaking. Another fighter attempts a direct pass, but even with Drakhri enhancements that fighter is destroyed too by the mass drivers of the Crossbow. Seeing no other stealth fighters as targets, I head for and shoot at the Dorkathi. It takes a few hits from full gun barrages, but is destroyed. A stealth fighter decides to take advantage of my attack on the Dorkathi and shoot at my rear while the flak took off significant forward shields. He manages to damage my rear armor a bit, and I swing around to try to get him to attack the slightly more charged forward shields. The Kilrathi takes the bait and I hit him twice with full guns, and switch to the mass drivers. A few more shots from a direct forward pass take him down. I let my shields recharge and head for the next nav point. On the next enemy encounter, there are two Sarthas here to make things interesting. I only manage to inflict damage, and they retreat but not before my rear armor has been badly damaged. I autopilot to the next point and approach Olympus station. I recommend that they send out more patrols due to those stray cats.
Ghorah Khar 2
I see Paladin again and I notice that the station looks like it’s gearing for another battle. Paladin explains the situation at Ghorah Khar. Their rebellion against the Empire happened ten years ago, any multiple attempts have been made to retake it. The Olympus station was built to assist in the defense of Ghorah Khar eight years ago. The political stakes in the Empire are higher due to rebellion of three more planets. The strong force of the Kilrathi Empire is being reduced by each rebellion. Another rebellion would likely cost the Emperor his throne. Since it is the oldest rebelling Kilrathi colony, Ghorah Khar is the focus to be retaken or destroyed to bring the other rebelling planets back into line. Our objective is to thwart any attempts and our focus is twofold: Hobbes is organizing the ground resistance, and I’ll assist with the space-based defense. Looks like there will be another Crossbow to fly on this mission since Paladin mentions a new shipment of them. Paladin asks me to meet him in the auxiliary communications room in an hour. I do as Paladin asks, and I also see Major Edmond there too. She tells Paladin that there is a rebel force heading for a rendezvous point. My mission will be to escort a Clydesdale carrying weapons and supplies to a Ralatha. He reminds me to watch my fire since the rebels are friendly, and they can’t afford to lose those supplies. I take off in a waiting Crossbow, and head for the first nav point. There are some Jalkehis here as a reception committee. I take out three of them with medium damage to the forward shields, and the transport makes a kill too. Knowing how important the shields are to my survival, I let them recharge to 80% strength before going to the next nav point. On approach to the Sh’ar N’Tanya Ralatha, the Kilrathi captain wants to talk to me. He asks about the supplies, and I tell him that the Clydesdale is ready to head back with him to planet N’Tanya. I’ll have to escort both of the ships to the jump point so that they can head to N’Tanya station. The next nav point has some Grikaths looking to frag the supplies. The first approaching Grikath goes down without taking a shot. I focus my attention on another Grikath, and he manages to let loose with a torpedo. A very well timed flak shot takes the torpedo down almost immediately. I blast him pretty well, but he retreats before I can finish him off. At the jump point, there are two Kamekhs looking to cut us off there. Four missiles approach and hit the Crossbow. By using both forward and aft shields, I distribute the damage fairly evenly. Before I can get out of range, two more missiles are fired. Fortunately, I still have enough shields to take both hits without danger. Discretion being the better part of valor, I get out of range of the Kamekhs. I let the shields recharge, and hope that Clydesdale can deal with any flak or fire that comes its way. Deciding not to fool around with the Kamekhs, I switch to torpedoes and target one as I get in range. Four more missiles are fired from those Kamekhs. I let loose with a torpedo at twice my usual range and turn around. That move saves my forward shields, and I hear the scream of one of the Kamekhs. I’ll take that lucky hit, and go full throttle to get out of range of that last Kamekh. I let those shields recharge, and get back into range. That Kamekh must have no missiles left, because he is surely seeing me coming. I shoot a second torpedo, and watch it go right for the Kamekh. At that close range, he has little chance to hit with a flak shot and the torpedo destroys him. After both the Clydesdale and Ralatha jump out, I head for the next nav point. Furball! There are multiple Dralthi Drakhris here, and they are out to kill me. I switch between targets to keep them on edge and damage one enough where it looks like he will retreat. Another makes a foolish forward pass, and a barrage of shots wipe him out. I keep shooting and switching targets, and find one that looks like is not paying attention. I target and destroy that fighter, and one shot from my forward guns takes out a third. I concentrate on the last one, and he is taken care of without much effort. I head back to Olympus, and upon approach the Major asks me how I did. I tell her of the successful escort, and she says I can’t afford to make a habit of having missions take longer than expected. I tell her that I’ll explain when I land. I wonder what her reaction will be after hearing about those ten missiles that were fired at me.
Ghorah Khar 3
I talk to the Major, but she’s not in the mood. I give her an order to tell me what is on her mind. Edmond tells me that after my transfer to the Concordia, she could only think of being on the same ship as the ‘Coward of K’Tithrak Mang’. My arrival reminded her of a mistake she made four years ago on the TCS Kirsk. They were in the Hell’s Kitchen system on a mission to take out a Kilrathi starbase. Due to a new code the Kilrathi were using, the Major did not unscramble it correctly. Due to the beliefs from this incorrect decoding, she thought that the Kirsk was undetected. Only when the ship was surrounded by squadrons of Kilrathi fighters did Edmond realize her error. I tell her that mistakes happen, but she is very sorry since the cost of this mistake was two thousand lives and six months in a burn ward for the Major. After having surgery to repair her face, she was reassigned to the Concordia. Each time she saw me, all she could think of was her mistake on the Kirsk. I do tell the Major that I’m sorry that I pried, and she just wants me to leave her alone to do her job. I see Paladin again, and he tells me that Hobbes has returned to the Olympus station. Hobbes is coming with a team of young pilots who will command Ghorah Khar resistance fighter squadrons. My job is to show them how to fight and stay alive in a combat situation. I’ll be on a standard patrol with the ‘kids’ around Olympus, and I am to assure the survival of these pilots since they are needed for the resistance. I’ll meet up with Hobbes at nav point one with the ‘kids’, and we’ll sweep two more areas for Kilrathi. I rendezvous with the new pilots, and stay well back to let them do their work. One of those pilots heads straight for a Kamekh and nails the ship(perhaps another Maniac in training). Some Sarthas break in a group, and I pursue them. I target and destroy one while making note to keep an eye on my six for those newbies. Another pilot decides to take the lead and go after a Sartha, I am pursuing. I let him take over and he does good work in shooting down the fighter(though I might have helped with a missile). I see that another Sartha is targeting one of the new pilots. I help him out and destroy the fighter trying to take him down. At the next enemy encounter are a few Jalkehis. I focus on and gun down the primary Jalkehi I targeted. I switch to a second fighter, and launch a missile to distract him from any possible retaliation from our group. That missile hits and flips his fighter. I continue my barrage of guns, and that Jalkehi is taken care of. While looking for and targeting a third Jalkehi, I hear communications chatter that one of those pilots shot down a Jalkehi. I take a missile shot at that Jalkehi after letting the ‘kids’ try to soften him up. That hit flips that fighter too, and it takes some fancy flying and gunnery to destroy that fighter without hitting Hobbes more than once. The final Jalkehi is simply no match for the firepower of five Sabres. It takes two missile hits, and a shot from guns for that fighter to be destroyed by my wingmates. Upon heading back to Olympus, it looks like the leftmost Sabre in our wing took damage. I establish communication with Olympus upon approach, and tell the station that there were many more Kilrathi than I expected. I tell them about the Kamekh and Sartha group at nav 2, and those five Jalkehis at nav 3. I also tell them the good news that the ‘kids’ did just fine on this field trip.
Ghorah Khar 4
I see Major Edmond again, and ask her about Paladin. She tells me that he is in a meeting with Colonel Marnier from Ghorah Khar and the station commander. The Major was given instructions to brief me on the next mission. A Kilrathi intelligence team is planning to drop a data pod with invasion plans on the edge of this system. My job is to patrol the area to make sure nobody from this team escapes. We’ll be substituting their data pod with ours so that we can trick the Kilrathi with invading from that point. If this trick succeeds, we will be leading the Kilrathi right into the main defensive forces. Hobbes and I will be flying Sabres on this mission, and I wait with Hobbes for the fueling of the Sabres to finish. I admit hating waiting, and I ask Hobbes why he has been so quiet since his return from Ghorah Khar. Hobbes says that the situation is very desperate, and that the rebel forces on the planet know that the Empire will show them no mercy. Hobbes also is thinking about what has happened to his family since his defection. Fortunately, his family is part of the noble class so the Emperor cannot do direct harm. If they were of a lower class, Hobbes knows that they all would have been imprisoned or killed. Hobbes wonders how long until the war with the Kilrathi will be over, and he can safely see his family again. He also wonders about the death toll before the collapse of the Empire. Hobbes thinks that an assassination of the Emperor and Thrakath might finish the war quickly. I say that this approach would not matter. The Kilrathi leadership would heal like a mythical hydra: kill one head, and another takes its place. The whole situation is too big for one person to make a difference. Hobbes is surprised at hearing this, and says that surely my efforts have made a difference in this war. We both launch in Sabres, and head off for the first nav point. There are a few Dralthi Drakhri here, and I take out one fighter with only particle cannons. I do some damage to a second one, and then take the time to switch to full guns. A few more shots destroy that fighter as well. At the next nav point is a mine field with two Grikaths. I take out both fighters, but not before the combination of them and the mines does some damage to my ship. I afterburn thru the minefield and head off to nav 3. There are more Dralthi Drakhris here, and it looked like a combination of my fire with Hobbes destroyed two fighters. I take down a third one, and it looks like he tried either a mine or decoy before he died. Hobbes wipes out that last Kilrathi fighter. I’m at the final nav point before heading back to Olympus that I notice that I almost forgot about the data pod! I set the nav map back for the capsule, and retrieve it after a few attempts. Whew, talk about almost pooching this mission! I afterburn again thru the minefield, and approach Olympus without further incident. The Major asks how I did, and I said a little white lie about retrieving the pod without difficulties. Next Sunday, just before my birthday will be the attempt at those final four impossible missions!
P.S. - I have a feeling that the final mission may exceed the number of actual missions in terms of failed attempts before I succeed. And IF I do make it thru, I think that will be my birthday present on Monday for fellow wingnuts.