Strike with Daring, Episode 1: Incursions.


Prologue: Orders

Date: 2654.042
From: Personel and Assignments, Confedaration High Command
To: Lieutenant Joseph Henry Barrington
Subject: Assignment

Lieutenant Barrington, you are hereby assigned to Battle Group Agamemnon (A) as a pilot of 267 Squadron, You will report on board the transport Aviso carrying supplies and personel bound for the bound for the McAuliffe dockyard. Further orders will be delivered en route.

He sat by the small square table, grateful for a moment's privacy. The Transport seemed to have stopped briefly every other system in order to deliver or pick up other people proceeding to their respective assignments. The transport had left Earth roughly two weeks ago, and so far he had shared his two man cabin with a marine seargeant, a pale faced youth joining joining his first ship, a corvette, a doctor proceeding to a military hospital and a loud mouthed technician heading for the McAuliffe dockyard itself.

Henry Barrington glanced at orders again, as with the majority of official documents he had received in the week following his graduation they were both brusque and supremely uninformative. He supposed the reason for this was to minimise any discolosure of sensitive information to the enemy, although one of his lecturers at Academy had once wryly remarked that written orders were an initiative test devised enhance an officer's skills of deduction.

From what he could deduce he had received the carrier posting coveted by all pilots. The majority of his classmates had been assigned to planetary airfields or space stations, which constituted the vast majority of postings for pilots. He was also fairly certain the Whippets were a Hornet squadron, since that was the only fighter for which he had thus far acheived a proficiency ribbon.

He was unfamiliar with the Agamemmnon Battlegroup, it was not a name celebrated by the press and public, such as the aplty named Illustrious or the semi legendary Tiger's Claw. He had however, surmised that it was an element of a larger fleet, comprising of one or perhaps two carriers plus escorting vessels, with detachments operating in the vicinity of each other, but rarely concentrated in the same system.

McAuliffe was fairly close to the front line, but was also the site of the largest construction and engineering facilities outside of Sol Sector, which meant that, once his ship had completed her refit, she could have been assigned to any sector in the vicinity.

"Lieutenant Barrington" A voice interrupted his thoughts as one of the transport's comm technitions approached his table.
"This is for you sir, came with the shuttle docked with us this morning."

He picked up the letter and read it, finally more clues as to what he was supposed to be doing.

Date: 2654.067
From: Adjutant, C-in-C Battlegroup Agamemnon
To: 2nd Lt. J.H. Barrington

Lt Barrington, this letter contains confidential details regarding the composition of your unit, to be kept secure at all times.

Upon arrival at McAuliffe you will report on board the TCS Audacious (CVL-36), Flagship of Commodore Rupert Fenton, and assume your duties in the Hornet squadron.

The Agamemon Battlegroup is composed of the folowing elements.
Agamemnon Taskforce
TCS Indomitable (Flagship, Rear-Admiral Houghton)
2 Cruisers and 4 destroyers.

Detachment A.
TCS Audacious (Ranger Class Light Carrier)
TCS Naseby (Gettysburg Class Cruiser)
TCS Winchester & Rochester (Exeter Class destroyers).
TCS William Hoste (Venture Class Corvette)

Fighter Compliment 60
Squadrons 3
267 "Whippet" Squadron (Hornets), Maj Charles Leroy
765 "Bulldog" Squadron (Scimitar), Maj Jonathan Worsley
583 "Boarhound" Squadron (Rapiers) Maj Peter Kaufmann

Plus 28 additional Scimitars assigned to escorting vessels.

Once onboard the Audacious you will report to the Wind Commander, Lt.Col. Arthur Pryce.


This is a first draft of the introduction to my new story, this itself will probably be ammended at a later date

Plywood Fiend

Rear Admiral
Looks good so far. I look forward to seeing more. I can't help but wonder if your main character will soon regret getting the carrier posting.


Prologue Errata
Boarhound Squadron fly Raptors not Rapiers
Admiral Haughton's flagship is the Argus not the Indomitable


Chapter 1: Arrival

The first Barrington knew of his arrival onboard his first active posting was a violent bump from the shuttle landing on the flighdeck of the Audacious. His first though was that the shuttle was under attack, until one of the crewmen nonchalantly sidled up to his bench.

"This is your stop Mr Barrington, thankyou for flying with Fleet Transfers, we hope your flight was pleasant."
"Er, thankyou, it's been a relie ... I mean a pleasure."

The flightdeck appeared to be abuzz with activity, and his hopes of a few days planetside before his tour were dashed.

"Lieutenant Barrington" A voice called from the companionway leading to Flight control.
"Sir." His hand whipped up to his temple in salute, swifly followed by his kitbag, which hit him hard in the ribs, causing him to stumble in an undignified manner.

"At ease. I am Colonel Pryce, callsign Wyvern, Wing Commander, TCS Audacious, this is your assignment details, I expect you to be familiar with its contents by tomorrow, when we will be proceeding to the Mylon System via Gimle."
The Wing Commander was a short, energetic man, brown haired, with the build of a rugby player and a noticable Welsh accent.

"Barrington, Joseph Henry, Terran Fleet Academy Class of 2654, graduated 4th in your class, son of Commander Lionel Richard Barrington, retired."
"Have you had the opportunity to fly since graduating?"
"No sir, I received my assignment the week after graduation."
"Very well, you will be flying patrols with you Flight Commander as from tomorrow
, dismissed, Watkins!, take this man's gear to the pilot's mess."

Surprisingly the mess area appeared to be empty, even though they had started serving the evening meal, Barrington, being not particularly hungry, made his way to the service terminal, flicked on the menu screen put requested a tuna & cucumber sandwich. He was just about to take a bite when the alarm sounded , a door on the opposite end of the room opening with a theatrical hiss and cloud of steam, booted feet clumping on the deck, a voice shouting

"Well look who it ain't, what are we gona do with this one lads? Keep him or send off for something better?"


Chapter 2: Introductions

A pair of booted feet clumped up to Barrington's table as the smoke cleared and the bar was now as full and noisy as if nothing had happened.

He looked up warily.
"Blimey you look like you've seen a ghost, Jim Larkin, Whippets, mates call be Larks." The stocky Lieutenant said brightly, taking a seat.
"Barrington, er, Joe Barrinton."
"Very pleased to make you haquain'ence Mr Barrington squire, hi believe you 'ave been hassigned to this vessel hin the character hov, ha pilot." Larking replied in awful pantomime cockney accent.
"And here's to hoping he'll be more convincing than you Larks." A said a fair haired Major, having evidently overheard their exchange.

"Leroy, I'm your squadron C.O, Hatchet on the board." He gestured to imitation blackboard, referring to practice that pilots were registered by their callsigns for the purpose of recording kills.

"Wyvern tells me you've had no practical experience of flying since graduation, correct?"
"Yes sir."
"Hmm, I'll have Captain Ibrahim put you on patrols until we reach our assigned station, Ghazi, Ghazi!"

A tall, swarthy officer detached himself from the throng of pilots surrounding the bar and took a seat at their table.

"Ghazi, we need Mr Barrington here to be as ready for action as possible by the time we reach Tartarus, your first assignment as flight commander, you could both use the experience."
"Right you are, Hatchet, Dawn Patrol tomorrow, takeoff at 0400, welcome aboard Squire."


Chapter 3: Patrol

"All here, good." Colonel pryce stepped up to the podium."
"it looks like we won't be in the Mylon system as soon as we'd hoped, the Hoste has detected Kilrathi engine trails here in Gimle, analysis of the reading suggests a small raider group, maybe a destroyer and 2 corvettes, nothing we can't handle, neverthelss, if left unattended this force could sever a vital convoy rout for this sector, which is why Commodore Fenton had ordered our taskforce to remain in the Gimle system until these raiders have been properly dealt with, Hatchet? Looks like your lads or going to be busy today.

The fair haired CO of Whippet squadron stepped up and began allocating recon patrol areas to each of the five flights under his command.

"Ghazi, your wing will be responsible for the Gimle Major gas giant, see if there are any ships skulking in the atmosphere or hiding in the rings, take Squire along on this one."

Barrington made a quick note of the patrol route a point midway between Audacious groups current position and G-Major, an orbit around the rings to allow a scan, of the planet, which, combined with the efforts of other wings stopping off at either pole would determine whether the Neptune sized planet was hiding any cat ships. A souting mission? Confirmed enemy presence? Convenient bolthole? By Barrington's way of thinking these represented a very good chance this would be his first brush with the enemy, that the years of academy training, drills and lectures might have been some use afterall.

"That concludes our briefing." Wyvern's voice brought him back to reality with a start.
"Let's get to work."


Chapter 4: Contact

"Delta Wing Away, proceeding Waypoint Delta 1."
"Roger Delta Wing, Good Hunting Ghazi."

"Delta 2 assume formation, bearing 135 mark 090 distance 5 C."
"Wilco. Delta 2 formed up ready to proceed on auto."

The journey to Gimle major proved to be uneventful, a relatively simple affair of allowing the onboard computer to control the the craft, an arrangement Barrington found to be tedious after several days of flying flanking patrols on manual learning various methods of formation flying and showfire excercises as practice.

"Watch out for these rings Squire, may not be asteroids but they're still dangerous to a careless pilot, wingman off the Ark lost a kite after taking half a dozen ice blocks the size of your head, he punched out and by the time the shuttle arrived they had to haul him in ice cube and all, he brushed against one and it froze to the seat of his pants, off the roster for a week cause of frostbite on the arse."

There was something about seeing a planet through a cockpit that a simulator simply could not replicate. Instead of a shining majestic orb, Barrington was strangely disappointed by what he saw of Gimle Major. A huge dull brown ball of gas the colour of dried blood, with rust coloured streaks of cloud belting the equator, and a dot resembling a livid bruise in the northern hemisphere betraying a super-hurricane force storm the size of Earth's moon. Even the rings seemed a lacklustre effort, the bleak backdrop of the void and the weak light from Gimle's distant sun giving the chunks of ice the appearance of pale blue lumps of plastic.

"Delta One, I my screen shows fait contact, scope?"
"Granted, drop to 2.5 K relative, scope from below."

Barrington tilted the nose of his craft into a "dive" for 2000 cliks until leveling out.
The nondescript white dot that had previously occupied his radar screen turned red and then seemed to split, a further blip registering a moment later, all three closing on his position.

"Ghazi, Squire, Have confirmed enemy contact, two, possibly three Krant jumping from the rings EI 2 minutes 30."


Chapter 5: The Joust

As Barrington had come to expect from the similator missions, the three Kilrathi fighters fired the afterburners the moment they had identified his craft. So far so predictable he thought, what escaped his notice was that the furthest contact

"Squire, looks like these two are going to try and distract us by attacking us individually while the third makes a run for it."

"Understood, Engaging."

Closing with the nearest Krant , Barrington could see that his opponent had no intention of breaking off this headlong charge. He remembered this from the academy, the test of nerve, two fighters closing almost on a collision course, waiting for the ideal moment to shoot, whoever brokeoff first lost the initiative and the fight.

He gave an experimental shot to see if his guns had range, the blast from his port cannon went wide, while the starboard would have fried the unfortunate pilot in his cockpit were it not for the shielding and nearly two inches of durasteel armour.
He adjusted his aim, and then loosed off short, controled bursts of fire as he had been taught at the academy.

This is getting nowhere, I need a quick clean kill so we can deal with the third guy Barrington thought. He pulled up and gave the Kilrathi just the opportunity he needed. The Krant emptied its guns on the fragile Hornet, overwhelming the fragile shielding and tearing gouges into its underside.

Shit! Barrington hit the burners to get out of the firestorm enveloping his craft, he came round in a sharp turn, hoping for a clean shot from behind his opponent. The Krant was already in mid turn so he fired off a Dumbfire before ripping into its port armour with his lasers.

"Eat that you pussy!"

He checked on his radar for the other fighters, he could see a white dot in the distance, but who was it, was it Ghazi? or had the other fighters ganged up on him?

"Form up & let's move on"
"Both of 'em?"
"That's right, form up we still have 1 more point to patrol before we get back to Audacious."
"Yeah I know what ur thinking lad 2 kills in the time you took for that one, honest? can't teach you that, no techniques to learn maybe some luck but it comes with experience mostly."
"Yes sir."
"And get yourself back in proper formation, your atleast 5 degrees off course!"


I like for the most part. A few parts are hard to read, following characters and such, but I like it. Keep the chapters coming.


Chapter 6: Results

Barrington's fighter was shaking ominously for the restof the patrol, he suspected some of the
manouvring machinery had been damaged during his joust with the Krant because the
flight stick seemed to be shaking uncontrollably and each manouvre seemed to be like
to be a long, drawn out armwrestle. Fortunatley his main engine seemed to to have suffered
meaning that completing the patrol was still plausible, assuming they met no more bandits
en route.

"Two, One." Captain Ibrahim's terse voice seemed to impart a jolt like an electric shock
"Large contact sighted, move to scope."
"Wilco" Barrington responed, reaching for the afterburner lever.
"We're going in cold, firing burners may give away our position."
Ghazi admonished, as if having read Barrington's mind

The exitement of acquiring the contact had now given way to tedium in the two minutes since
it had been announced.

"Contact Scoped, one corvette plus two Krant escorts."
Barrington's hand breifly twitched in the direction of the 'burner switch but he decided against it,
better to let the enemy come to him and use the Hornet's manouvrability to its advantage.
His fighter continued to approach the enemy corvette before Ghazi's insistent snap torpedoed
his hopes of glory.

"Delta 2, Squire, Lieutenant Barrington! return to formation, our job is done, besides, you're in
no shape to tackle one krant, much less two and a 'vette."

The return to the Audacious proved to be just as difficult as the patrol itself.
Barrington's Hornet was proving to be more stubborn against his efforts to manouvre than he had
realised and finally settled on the deck with an alarming bounce.
Climbing shakily from the cockpit, Barrington realised that the deck crew did notshare his relief
for the near miss.

"Good God Lieutenant, are you trying to trash that damn plane?! Cat's couldn't do it properly so
you tried to finish the job is that it?"
"Damn right you are, remember to show my deck crews more respect."
"Understood Chief" Barrington mumbled contritely, realising that he had endured a tirade from
the chief technician himself.

He made his way hurriedly to the flight control platform for a debriefing.
Colonel Pryce stood by a computer console, his face impassive.
"Your report, Ghazi."
"We completed the patrol, sir sighted a corvette in the vicinity of Gimle Major, minimal escort.
Prior to that we encountered a patrol, three Krant, I bagged two and Squire managed
to kill the other."
"Squire eh?, Everyone needs a handle I suppose." The Colonel returned to the screen he was
standing beside.
"Well, the log confirms your claim, it also said that, inspite of having sustained heavy damage,
Squire here attempted to engage the Corvette without authorisation. Captain Ibrahim, this is the first
time you have flown alongside a rookie pilot in a year but you will control his daredevil antics in the future
"Yes Sir."
"I will send the rest of the data your patrol collected to tactical control as soon as the download is complete,


Chapter 7: Settling in.

The transition to the Mylon system proved to be a dissapointment for Whippet squadron and the rest of the taskforce, Ghazi's brush with the corvette proved to be the only action the squadron would see in Gimle. Shortly after the completion of the recon mission, a pair from Bulldog Squadron had been dispatched to detroy the corvette, although of the supposed Destroyer there had been no sign, and speculation was brewing that the cats had been building a base in the inner asteroid belt right under Confed's nose.

Barrington, or Squire as he had come to be known, was swiftly realising that a fighter pilot's life had little if any of the glamour that with which it was associated in the popular media.
Since his first kill and the hangover that followed the celebrations, the most exiting thing tht had happened to him was beating Jim Larkin, another pilot on his flight at pool. Larks was considered one of the best players in the wing and hand ben expected to win, and there were rumours that the three pilots who had placed a bet on Squire had walked away with the equivelent of a month's salary each.

In the week since arriving on board Barrington was settling into a routine, divided into the ships four hour watches plus the two dogs, one patrol per day (at varying times depending on the roster) with a wingman, usually Ghazi but sometimes Larks of Johnson, a pilot with two years of experience but was still unaccountably without a callsign.
The patrol usually took two hours, with half and hour before and after involving briefing, preperation, debriefing and securing the fighter and equipment and the remaining hour on standby.

This was followed by 4 hours downtime, which in the morning was usually spent in the gym or catching up on some sleep, then another watch on standby, which consisted of
sitting in flight control in full pilots gear waiting in vain for a despatch request, more downtime, chatting with whover happened to be off duty, maybe a beer.

Dog watches were usually spent on CAP, which reveryone except the Bulldogs despised for having to wrestle with a Scimitar's controls for two hours, or even worse, alert duty, where he would spend 4 hours crammed in a Hornets cockpit in frustrated inticipation of a scramble alarm.

Inspite of the more seasoned pilots claiming that this was the best part of the war as it didn't involved deafening alarms, mindless panic and survival rations, Squire was finding the all pervading boredom of Carrier live oppressive. He therefore greeted the news of a moderate enemy presence in Mylon with some relief, although he would ultimately count the weeks that followed as some of the most terrible of his entire career.