As compensation for my really late reply for the second half of the missions, I'm sharing five more special screen shots from those 49 I got earlier.
A Kilrathi battlegroup is in the Locanda sector. Melek and Prince Thrakhath are debating the value of continually raiding this system since there basically no useful natural resources left. The system is a source of Kilrathi slave labor, but they have made difficulties for the Kilrathi. Thrakhath points out that they don’t have a shortage of slaves, so they’ll let Confed recapture this system. Melek thinks that this is equivalent to surrender, but Thrakhath tells him that since this system is useless to the Kilrathi it’s now time to make it useless to Confed. Melek compliments the Prince on his wisdom.
I notice Flash moping on the flight level, and he offers an apology for the things he said to me. Flash thinks he might have been able to beat me in the simulator challenge if he had more attempts. I ask him if he wants to try his luck again, but says that he’ll take the choice of proving his capabilities in combat. He asks if I think he’s good enough to be my wingman, and I tell him that he’s on the roster and that he will get his chance to fly just like all the other pilots. I turn away for the lift, and Flash thanks me. I see Cobra in the berths, and she’s sharpening the hunter’s knife again. She asks me if I’ve heard that the Kilrathi may be using bioweapons in this system. I tell her that I’ve not heard about that until now, and she states that the cats have been preparing and using weapons like this for years. If the Kilrathi don’t use bioweapons in this system, Cobra thinks they certainly will elsewhere. I ask her how she knows so much, and she thinks it does not matter if I believe her. I decide that she knows something, and I explain that she’s wrong in thinking it does not matter and that one day I’d like to get the rest of the story from her. I see Flint hanging around in the gunnery control area on the bridge. I tell her that I’ve flown in this system before, and that there are a lot of places to hide here. I ask Flint if this is her first time here, and she explains that this is her home system. Her father taught her everything he knew about flying since the Kilrathi killed her brother. I tell her that I’m sorry about her loss, and she’s right that everyone in this war has lost somebody close. Shadow and Spirit come to my mind again, though Spirit is the deeper loss for me. I ask her if this is her first time returning home, and wonder which one is her home planet. She’s able to point it out, and explains that it’s a beautiful place with dark purple nights and burnt moons. The insects sung different serenades depending on how close the moons were, and she remembers the peacefulness before the war when she and her brother would spend hours listening to the insects. She asks me if I remember times before the war, and I inform her that I don’t let myself. She then says that there are scores for her to settle here, and that she does not want to be on the sidelines for any Kilrathi engagements. She definitely wants to be a part of the takedown, and I decide to give her a shot. I do ask her if she’s going to be my wingman or her brother’s wingman. I head back down to the flight level in the lift and enter the briefing room for my next mission. Eisen explains that the Kilrathi intentions are unclear, so I’ll be heading out to corral the cats and prevent their access to the planets and asteroid field. If I do my sweep duties well enough, we might succeed in putting the Kilrathi raiders out of business for good. I tell Eisen that I’m ready to go, and he likes seeing my enthusiasm. I give the briefing to the other pilots and select Flash as my wingman.
Expecting some sort of Kilrathi cap ship in the area, I select the Thunderbolt. After my standard takeoff procedure, Flash and I head out. On our first Kilrathi encounter, there are two Vaktoth fighters here. I give Flash the ok to break and attack. He makes fairly short work of one Vaktoth. I have to continually make opportunistic attacks on my targeted Vaktoth. I finally hit him enough times for his fighter to explode. A wing of Dralthis jumps in, and Flash again ices one before I can do enough damage to my target and finish him off. Flash eliminates the other Dralthis before I can do much to assist. We head off for the asteroid belt, and there are some Darkets waiting for us. I take down one on my first pass, and systematically eliminate the others without too many difficulties. The Kilrathi spring a surprise with Strakha stealth fighters, and I let Flash break and attack. I happen to see a Strakha directly in front of me, and I pound him to particles with my guns. Flash makes a kill as well, and I get another Strakha in my sights. Another stealth fighter explodes, and the last one keeps cloaking and uncloaking to make his elimination more difficult. Flash gets that final fighter with blind shooting, and we head along with our sweep. My suspicions of a Kilrathi cap ship are confirmed with a destroyer at the next nav point. There is a wing of Dralthis trying to protect the destroyer, but I wipe out one and Flash gets three kills. The destroyer launches another wing of Dralthis, so I decide to target it for a torpedo. I let loose with the torpedo while doing some minor evasive maneuvering. I hear the destroyer go up, and go after one of the Dralthis. I shred one with guns, and Flash follows suit pretty quickly. I launch a missile, and finish the Dralthi with my gun blasts. Flash makes another kill, and this area is now clear. At the next nav points, there are several Darkets with the Kilrathi ace Fireclaw. Fireclaw taunts us right away, but I expect this fight to be like the others where I’ve faced aces: take down the little kitties first and then get the big cat. The first Darket is one heck of a flyer, and I’m forced to use a missile in frustration to destroy the fighter. A second goes down from my guns fairly quickly. I’m able to eliminate a third Darket, but Fireclaw took advantage of my pursuit and caused some damage to my Thunderbolt. The communications system has taken a hit, and two more Darkets fall quickly. Flash fries Fireclaw, and I check damage control. The communications system is significantly damaged at 60%, so I’ll need multiple attempts to establish a link to the Victory on my return. On my landing approach, Rollins tells me that we’re heading for Locanda IV in this system due to increased Kilrathi presence. He tells me that Flint was flying a little wildly, and wonders if she’s been getting pointers from Maniac.
I see Vagabond again in the living area, and he says that he’s been hearing that the Kilrathi have left this system with little natural resources. I explain that this has been a hotly contested area, and then Vagabond says that he heard a story of a fringe system the Kilrathi raided. The rumor is that this system was dusted with a bioweapon after the Kilrathi took everything of use to them. This bioweapon was so virulent that nobody can get near the system, and another rumor is that Confed has quarantined the system. I tell him that nothing the Kilrathi does surprises me, but that if we do our jobs well enough we should not have to worry about bioweapon use. I find Hobbes in the gunnery control area on the bridge. He admits that he used to raid these planets, and that he’s puzzled at why the Kilrathi are surrendering the system. Hobbes can’t make a guess at what the Kilrathi really will do, and that the cats are most dangerous when they are unpredictable. I head to the flight level for my next briefing. Captain Eisen gives me the scoop that there are more questions than answers on what the Kilrathi are doing here. Some forces are heading for Locanda IV, where Confed intel believes that the Kilrathi are prepping to use a new type of bioweapon. If this intelligence is correct, the half-life of the virus is over 500 years which would make the planet uninhabitable for a very long time. We can’t afford to let any warheads hit the planet, since a bio attack would mean slow deaths by the people on the planet. I choose Vagabond as my wingman, and choose the Thunderbolt again to make very short work of any Kilrathi cap ship that could launch those warheads.
At the first nav point is a Kilrathi cap ship with some Strakha fighter escorts. I had my torpedo already selected as my missile, so the lock on is quick. Vagabond frags a Strakha just as I shoot and scuttle the cap ship. I notice that it launched a missile, and go after it on full afterburners. I have to make several attempts but successfully destroy the missile. A Strakha futilely attempted to prevent my interception, so now it’s time for me to turn my attention to any remaining fighters. Vagabond gets the entire Strakha contingent, and we head back for the Victory. Upon my approach, Rollins says that Confed intel did confirm that the warhead launched by the cap ship was a bioweapon. Just before I can autopilot into the landing bay, Eisen says that Flint went renegade and is undertaking her own private war with the Kilrathi. I’m given the choice to go after her or not, and decide to do the rescue mission since she could die out there without some help.
No mission briefing here since I elected to attempt to rescue Flint. I have to do my ship adjustments and go on my way. On my first nav point, there are Dralthi fighters with a Corvette. I gun down one Dralthi without much trouble, and a second one quickly follows the first in destruction. I go after the final Dralthi from the fighter wing, and he’s no problem in pulverizing. That Corvette sends in a wing of Darkets, but my Thunderbolt should be able to handle them. One goes down quickly to my guns, and another taunts me. He’s eating a missile for that! The missile tags the taunter, so I turn my attention on a third Darket. My guns grind him into space shards. The fourth one proves to be slightly more challenging in crunching, but I torch him with multiple gun barrages. The Corvette brings in another wing of Dralthi, and I quickly eliminate one fighter. A second fighter fares no better against my guns, and the third Dralthi soon joins his buddies. I dust that final Dralthi, and the Corvette can’t bring in any more fighter reinforcements. I autopilot away from the Corvette and head onwards since time is of the essence if I’m going to successfully rescue Flint.
I finally reach the nav point where Flint is at, and it’s an immediate furball. There is a cruiser here with multiple Darkets seeking to fry Flint. I decide to use some missiles here to help out Flint. A Darket successfully decoys away one, but my second missile launch destroys that fighter. I shoot off a third missile, and another Darket joins the debris field. I go after a third Darket, and he’s pretty elusive for a while. I shatter his ship with my guns though, and I get enough time to get confirmation from Flint that she’s ok. I shoot down a fourth Darket, and the cruiser sends another wing of Darkets to deal with us. I’m approaching a Darket too fast and attempt to gun him down quickly. Fortunately my shields deflect the damage from the Darket collision. I gun down a second Darket, and a third soon follows. The cruiser decides to get serious, and brings in a wing of Vaktoths. I take missile and gun hits from the Vaktoths, and my frontal display is damaged. I finally take down that troublesome Vaktoth I was targeting, but it took quite some effort. Flint gets VERY aggressive and rams into the second Vaktoth. I finish him off with full gun barrages, and bring my banged-up Thunderbolt along with Flint’s dented Longbow back to the Victory. Rollins congratulates me on my successful rescue, and Flint talks to me after I get out of the cockpit. She correctly says that I might have died in that rescue attempt, and I explain that it was my choice to rescue her. She guesses that she should be impressed, but does thank me at saving her. I tell her that we’re not in this war to fly suicide missions. We’re here to fly with our head and not our heart. She asks me if I’ve ever flown with my heart, and I explain that if I did I’d expect to get chewed out by the brass. I do mentally note that there have been occasions where I flew with my heart on multiple previous missions back when I was on the Concordia. Flint explains that her father read from the regulation manuals when she was only a child and knows that she deserves punishment. I decide to give her a break, but adamantly state that all bets are off if she goes renegade again. She understands that another rescue would be an indulgence. Our Confed battlegroup jumps onward into the Blackmane system, so I’ll soon see what sort of missions I’ll be flying.