Wing Commander Prophecy Replay Week 4

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
All right pilots it's the craziness that is T'lan Meth. Several insystem branches here. We are going to do the first 5 missions here, so all the way up to the Cult of Sivar Rescue. Next week we'll pick up at the same place and continue with the remaining missions.

This is also roughly the halfway point for our WCP adventure. We are fast approaching SO, following that, we will have completed the main WC games. I'm planning on continuing the replay (I need to start catching myself up this week) into the fan mods, Unknown Enemy and then Standoff.

Good work to all those who have been along for the whole ride. Dave and Lorien if I could give out Golden Suns you two would certainly have one :D
 

DaveO

Commodore
Thanks so much for the kind words. I still have WC1 to do after finishing Secret Operations to WCP. Due to the short two mission week, I had enough time to do many of the failing missions. I also did the T'lan Meth missions, and I can see I'm going to have to be extra careful when in bombers. Both of my outings with the winning and losing path missions have turned the Shrike into a bit of Swiss cheese. I'm not looking forward to when I have to fly the Devastator.

26 additional screen shots to Photobucket, and 13 new missions uploaded to YouTube. I'd say that my favorite of the failing path so far is Last Stand at Alcor. The other ones are either too short or have game bugs(G'wriss 2c was buggy with the alien destroyers self-destructing as soon as you arrived).

http://s204.photobucket.com/albums/bb15/DaveO-MM/Wing Commander/

http://www.youtube.com/davecaspermeyer
 

Attachments

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I'm planning on continuing the replay (I need to start catching myself up this week) into the fan mods, Unknown Enemy and then Standoff.
What's the plan for Privateer, Righteous Fire, The Darkening and Armada?

Good work to all those who have been along for the whole ride. Dave and Lorien if I could give out Golden Suns you two would certainly have one :D
Wouldn't the Golden Sun be better for someone who started and then bailed out early in the replay? :)
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
What's the plan for Privateer, Righteous Fire, The Darkening and Armada?
I'm not sure how I feel about Priv/RF and P2 just yet. Would people want to do the campaign missions in them? It requires a bit more "pre-production" for the player than the main games. Perhaps at the very end.

Armada, again probably at the end.



Wouldn't the Golden Sun be better for someone who started and then bailed out early in the replay? :)
Whoops! Early Sunday morning posts before coffee can produce strange results! The replay thread is typically one of the first things I do in the morning after STARTING the coffee. :D
 

DaveO

Commodore
I thought I'd save this journal for Thanksgiving Day today in the US. I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving(even if you don't observe the holiday). I wonder how Lorien will fare in the Shrikes, but I'll have to wait for things on his end to get sorted out after that storm he mentioned in week 3. I hope things are better off down there!


T’lan Meth 1
There’s nobody in the Rec room to talk to, so I enter the briefing room to find out about our first mission in this system. Limited intelligence in the system has determined that the Kilrathi planet E’loy is being blockaded by the bugs. There is an unknown jamming source preventing us from getting a full scope of the situation. Other wings are to help in the defense of E’loy, while our wing looks for that jamming device. We’ll have to make individual close scanner sweeps to identify the jammer. Once the jammer is found, an SAR team will retrieve and dismantle it. Hawk catches Maniac sleeping during the briefing and wakes him up. The CAG tells him that he’s in command of the Black Widow squadron. Maniac is surprised by this since it has been many years separating his command of this squadron versus his last one. Maniac will now have to deal with all the responsibilities and the blame if his squadron fails on missions.

Stiletto and I launch in Panthers, and proceed on our mission. At the first nav point are Morays, Mantas, and a group of fighters that merge into a ship that can rapidly shoot plasma bolts. I go after the Mantas first since they are the closest targets. The guns of the Panther are more effective than the ones in the Tigershark, and it takes only a few hits to the rear to dispose of the first Manta. A second Manta soon follows the first in extermination. I then go after the Stingray cluster with a head on approach. I have to weave around to make sure I don’t present an easy target for those plasma shots. The Stingray cluster breaks apart, and I destroy two of the cluster segments. Stiletto uses a missile that tags a Moray, and I help her out to finish it off. Together, we combine to make short work of another Moray. There is one last Stingray segment left, but it’s no match for the combined firepower of two Panthers. At the second nav point, Maniac comes on the communication channel to tell us that he has an unusual reading at his third nav point. Stiletto and I head off for the third nav point, and she warns me of the enemy fighters here. It looks like another presence of Mantas and Morays to harass us. The first Manta I target is handled easily, and I make a Moray my second target. That fighter takes a beating before it goes down, and there’s another Manta very close. That Manta does not use all of its firepower which gives me enough of a break to make it pay for that mistake. Two of the Morays work together to penetrate my shields and do some damage to the Panther’s armor. I rapidly vaporize one of the Morays, and go after another. One of the Morays launches a missile, and it hits me in spite of a decoy. I take out the Moray I’m pursuing, and destroy the last fighter in the area. I then look for a close unknown container to begin the hunt for the jammer. Each one I identify as containing unknown contents is destroyed to make sure I don’t identify the same one twice. I do that process for three more of the unknown items, and then find the jammer on my fifth attempt. Anderson comes on the communication channel to congratulate me for my good work. After heading back to the Midway and landing, Rachel also congratulates me on my performance here.


T’lan Meth 2
Hawk’s sharpening his knife at the bar, and I accidentally bump into Maniac on my way over. Maniac gives me a playful shove, and I ask Hawk what happened. One of the pilots from Maniac’s wing did not make it back from the last mission. Hawk walks over to Maniac to rub in the loss of the pilot, and Maniac laments his treatment. I ask Maniac if the SAR team found the pilot, but he ejected in the asteroid field where all of those unknown containers were. Maniac has been given orders to go off the flight rotation for eight hours, so he can’t head out to look for the pilot. Maniac then says that he’s heard that all pilots are being picked up by the aliens. I then give Maniac a reminder of what he said about my ‘smell’ when we first met, and I say that this ‘plebe’ will be heading out into the asteroids to save the ejected pilot.

Upon launching in a Panther, the CAG says that she’s letting this mission proceed despite the small chance at a successful rescue. Anderson tells me that I’ll be along with an SAR shuttle to head for the first nav point where the pilot is believed to be. As soon as we arrive at the nav point, a Manta is hot on the SAR shuttle and attacks it with a missile and some shots. I’m forced to drop two decoys to shake off a missile coming my way. I take out the Manta, and look around for other dangerous targets. I drop another decoy, and the shuttle says another hostile craft is approaching. It’s a Devil Ray, so I make that my priority target. I launch multiple missiles against the Devil Ray to make it abandon its attempted pickup of the pilot. I’m all over the Devil Ray, and it’s seriously damaged. The Devil Ray bugs out of the area, so all I have left are the Morays. I know that these ships are not equipped to pick up pilots, but they still present a threat to the SAR shuttle. I dispatch two of the Morays before the SAR can successfully pick up the pilot. Another Moray is still around, and its pilot almost makes a massive blunder by running into an asteroid. That hit almost wipes out its frontal armor, and I blast it from behind to finish it off. The SAR shuttle and my ship head back to the Midway. I watch the medics as they bring in the pilot for treatment. Rachel congratulates me on helping to bring the pilot home, and I’m hoping that other Devil Rays will start to think twice before trying to pick up pilots.


T’lan Meth 3
There are no fellow pilots to talk to in the Rec room, so I go to the briefing room for my next mission assignment. Thanks to my work in finding the jammer, our science and engineering divisions have been able to gather intelligence about alien operations in this system. The bugs have captured a Kilrathi starbase at Dula 7, and are using it as a base for their fleet. A significant number of alien capital ships are between the Midway’s position and the starbase. To gather more data, an SWACS will be launched to do a more detailed scan.

I launch with Maestro and another pilot on my wing. All three of us shred a Moray fighter at the first nav point. There are additional Morays here, and I’m forced to drop multiple decoys to shake a missile. Anderson comes on the communication line, and says that we are to head to the second nav point to assist the SWACS patrol and bring it back to the Midway. I blast another of the Moray bugs to bits, and engage a Manta in pursuit. The guns of my Panther punch thru the shields and armor of the Manta, and Maestro compliments me on the good work. I turn on a Moray, and it follows the Manta in elimination. All three of us combine to take out the last Moray fighter, and we head to rescue the SWACS at the second nav point. I make short work of a Moray, and see a Manta on the radar. I get that Manta off the radar for good, and my Panther gets tagged by an inbound missile. I see a Stingray cluster, so that is my next target. I break apart the cluster and hit one of the segments with a missile. I’m able to finish off that segment just as the other Stingrays are trying to merge again into a cluster. Maestro destroys an enemy fighter, and I shoot down another of the Stingray segments. Viking takes care of the last Stingray, and there is only one Moray left. That last bug is squished, and it’s time to return to the Midway with the SWACS. There are a group of more bugs seeking to stop us along the way. I take a friendly fire shot that damages my Panther’s right side. I pursue a Manta, and let it have a missile. It’s damaged, and I finish it off with a second missile. Unfortunately, my Panther takes a missile hit from the rear. I still have enough armor and shields to take more hits, and help out Maestro against a Manta. That Manta was shooting him up, but now it tries its best to evade my fire. The Manta is too big of a target as well as too sluggish to avoid annihilation. Viking takes out one of the enemy fighters, and I make a mess of a Moray fighter. Viking gets another kill, and all three of us make mincemeat of yet another Moray. The last fighter left is taken out with combined firepower between Viking and me. There are no more enemy forces to prevent us making it back to the Midway with the SWACS. They thank us for our efforts, and promise to get all of us a steak dinner. Rachel congratulates me on doing well on this mission after I land.


T’lan Meth 4
I enter the briefing room just as the CAG has started. She begins the briefing again after I sit down, and says that reconnaissance has confirmed a large enemy fleet in the system. Due to her presence, the Midway would be considered a primary target. Fortunately, the bugs have not spotted us yet, so there is a good chance we have surprise on our side. Due to the continued blockade of E’loy, the aliens won’t be able to bring the entire fleet to bear. We’ve decided to prioritize a carrier in the alien fleet for attack. Maniac will lead a diversionary strike to draw away fighters from the carrier. At the third nav point, our targets are an alien cruiser and the carrier. The CAG then tells us that the squadron we will be meeting will consist of Kilrathi forces from one of its feudal planets. Maniac expresses his dismay at having to fly with the Cult of Sivar, and Hawk complains that we should not be working with them due to raids on our colonies. The CAG stops the complaints cold by threatening to put them both in the brig. The CAG points out that we don’t have any options for allies to work with. She tells us to do our duty, and makes it crystal clear that she won’t tolerate further insubordination.

I launch in a Shrike bomber, and switch to its charging mass driver guns. I know that in a bomber, my shots are going to have to count due to the larger target profile of this ship as well as its decreased maneuvering capabilities. We link up with the Kilrathi at the first nav point, and they greet us by saying it’s a good day to die. Hawk says that cats can do all the dying they want, and I’m certainly not in a headlong rush to die today. At the second nav point is an asteroid field with alien fighters in our way. I let a Manta get within close distance and start charging my shot. With a full power blast from the guns, the Manta makes an explosive exit. My Shrike takes a missile hit from the rear, and we lose one of our pilots for good. I ask for assistance on a second Manta attacking me. With help from the fighters, my second shot takes out this Manta. I again ask for help against an attacking Moray, and one of the Kilrathi Vaktoths is destroyed by the bugs. The assistance on the Moray works to take down that enemy, and both the Kilrthi fighters and ours deal with the rest of the alien attackers. As soon as we reach the third nav point, the Kilrathi insist that they will kill the carrier and don’t want us to get in the way. Looks like Maniac’s diversion worked as well since there does not look to be much for fighter opposition here. After many moments of patience, a Squid gets in range. I miss my first shot, but the second one takes out that fighter. A Kilrathi Vaktoth dies in its attack, and I scuttle a second Squid with one shot. We lose another fighter pilot for good, and another Vaktoth is destroyed. A Devil Ray is coming after me, and I call for help. Assistance along with two direct hits brings down the Devil Ray. My Shrike has taken some serious hits though. Both my front and rear armor are gone, and my damage is over 33%. A Squid that is in my target sights is concentrated on and destroyed by our support. All remaining fighter opposition is dealt with, so now it’s only the cruiser and carrier to deal with. Due to the Kilrathi losses, I decide to help in destroying the carrier by working on the turrets. I take out a few turrets and missile launchers of the carrier. I then see a torpedo streaming in to blast the engines. That carrier is destroyed, and now its time to work on the cruiser. I again take out several of the turrets, and then go for the engines of the cruiser. I put one torpedo in its rear, and another of our bomber pilots finishes off the cruiser. We head back for the Midway, but there are more bugs to slow our return. Three Manta pilots let me get full power blasts on them, and are dispatched with one shot. I ask for help with a fourth Manta since he’s a tough target to track. My Shrike takes a missile hit and more damage, and the damage is significant against my afterburners. Fortunately, the repair systems on the ship take care of the afterburner hit. I nail the Manta with a full power shot, and take out a Moray with some assistance and my own missile. There’s one Manta left, and I call in for help again. Some missiles along with a full power shot destroy that alien. The surviving Kilrathi congratulate us on our fight together. Our group heads back to the Midway, and I get a reprimand from Rachel to fly better since my Shrike took significant damage. I do notice that I got over 10 kills in a bomber, so that charging mass driver gun was a godsend for this mission. I see Finley working late at one of the tables near the bar in the Rec room. She says that she thought all pilots like me needed good sleep. I admit to her that I’ve not slept for almost three days, and she says that I can’t afford to keep doing that since it will eventually affect my health and how I perform on missions. I ask her why she’s working late, and she says that she has made contact with the Kilrathi on E’loy. After the attack on E’loy along with the destruction of its capitol, many of the Kilrathi just disappeared. Apparently the bugs took thousands of Kilrathi as prisoners, with the few remaining able to send to Finley further data about the alien craft. As soon as her upload from E’loy was complete, Finley lost all contact with the Kilrathi. It seemed like all the cats on E’loy had been completely consumed just like in the Kilrathi prophecy concerning the Kn’thrak. I then have a nightmare vision of Commodore Blair being tortured by the bugs. Finley snaps me out of this, and asks if I’m okay. These continual nightmares are part of the reason I’ve been avoiding sleep for some time.


T’lan Meth 5
I enter the Rec room, and Hawk says that he missed seeing me at the mess hall in the morning. I tell him that I did not feel hungry, but Hawk says that it was more like I was not in the mood to eat. I ask Hawk if he has a point, and he says that he can see that I’m still blaming myself for what happened to Blair. He asks me if I’m having nightmares about Blair, and I nod my head. Hawk asks me to sit down, and he tells me a story about losing three wingmen in one of the first missions he had in the Kilrathi war. He says that his trauma over this loss caused him to also have problems with sleeping and eating. A Major took Hawk aside, and told him to get used to the loss of his friends. The Major then signed on as Hawk’s wingman for the next mission. Hawk was still recovering, and the Major took out an entire clan of Kilrathi until Hawk finally recovered. I ask Hawk if it was Blair that helped him thru this, but he says it was my father. He advises me to get some sleep, something to eat, and to forget about Blair. Hawk says that I’m a good pilot, and still alive. I should do everything I can to stay that way. After taking Hawk’s advice, I go into the briefing room to find out details of the next mission. Hawk and I have been assigned to help out more Kilrathi here. After helping the cats deal with the enemies, we’ll escort the remaining Kilrathi to a corvette. After conclusion of the briefing, I ask Hawk if he’s okay with this assignment. Hawk says that he’s not used to helping the Kilrathi. He laments that he was better off when fighting for the Border Worlds since he knew who the enemies were. I explain to him that he should put all of his personal feelings aside like I did with Blair. Hawk asks if I ever read the mission report where my father died. I tell him the details that I do know, and then Hawk tells me one detail that was not in the report. My father’s life pod was found by Blair, but the body was in pieces. This detail was left out to spare Iceman’s family, and Hawk says that both he and I owe the Kilrathi payback for their past deeds.

Upon launching in Panthers, Hawk says that it does not feel right to risk ourselves to save the Kilrathi. Upon reaching the first nav point, I can see that the cats have their hands full in dealing with multiple alien attackers. Hawk’s not sympathetic towards any potential losses on the Kilrathi side, but I ignore his attitude and attack a Manta. That alien is quickly off the grid, and a Kilrathi Dralthi fighter is destroyed. I again make short work of a second Manta in an attempt to prevent more losses. I line up a third Manta, and the Dralthis are getting kills racked up against the aliens. That Manta joins its friends in getting fried by the guns of my Panther. I go after and destroy one of the Moray fighters, and see another Manta that is a threat to the Dralthis. That Manta has the same lack of defense against rear attacks that the others had. The Dralthis finish off the last Moray fighter, and then Hawk encourages me to turn against the Kilrathi. Hawk says that he turned off the flight recorders to both of our ships before takeoff, so there will be no evidence if we do attack the Kilrathi. Hawk does everything he can to prod me to attack the Kilrathi, but he’s forgetting their earlier assistance against the cruiser and carrier. I follow my orders to fulfill this mission regardless of Hawk’s desire for revenge. The Dralthi fighters rendezvous with the corvette at the second nav point, and Hawk wonders if I’m really Iceman’s son by not choosing revenge. We both return to the Midway, but Hawk won’t talk to me and I lift my arms in exasperation as Rachel watches our tiff. Rachel asks me what happened during this mission, but I have no good explanation to give her.


P.S. - I don't have any of the Privateer games, so you'll have to do those without my participation. My plans are to do Wing Commander 1 along with both Secret Ops campaigns. If there is no episode 5 for Standoff by the end of that replay, I'll do StarLancer over 6 weeks.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I'm sure Standoff Ep5 will be out by the time we get there. It's still a few months out for us to reach it.
 

Lorien

Rear Admiral
Things are a bit more settled now, so I should be back on deck next week. Not sure how long it will take me to catch up, but I'm really looking forward to that fight against the Devil Ray in the Tigershark.

What's the plan for Privateer, Righteous Fire, The Darkening and Armada?
Maybe for Privateer give everyone a week or two to build up their ship and then launch into the storyline. Adds an element of competition to see who can make the most money in a certain time period. Everyone should be right to go with Righteous Fire from the start.

Same idea with the Darkening, though I dove right into the story with that one and finished the game with the Shaman. Would be interesting to go back and get a better ship.

The question for Armada is whether we do the campaign mode or the Gauntlet.

Wouldn't the Golden Sun be better for someone who started and then bailed out early in the replay? :)
I don't think I've ejected once during the replay.
 

DaveO

Commodore
I've ejected once on the Sol losing path mission in WC3, been shot down more times than I can count, but had fun along the way. It's been a learning process for me on how to adapt to the various game changes. Especially with Wing Commander 4 and that dangerous fourth mission. I consider it one of the toughest ten missions in all the games.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I'm not sure how I feel about Priv/RF and P2 just yet. Would people want to do the campaign missions in them? It requires a bit more "pre-production" for the player than the main games. Perhaps at the very end.

Armada, again probably at the end.
I think you give everyone a week or two (or whatever) at the beginning of the Privateers and tell them that's the time to beef up their ship. People could compare notes on some of their harrowing missions and brag about the new hardware they just bought.

Armada could be amazing as the only WC game whose storyline can be played through cooperative online multiplayer. Either gauntlet or campaign modes (or both). That could provide for some interesting mission reports from two points of view.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I think you give everyone a week or two (or whatever) at the beginning of the Privateers and tell them that's the time to beef up their ship. People could compare notes on some of their harrowing missions and brag about the new hardware they just bought.
That would work. Hopefully we can get some more players involved.

Armada could be amazing as the only WC game whose storyline can be played through cooperative online multiplayer. Either gauntlet or campaign modes. That could provide for some interesting mission reports from two points of view.
Excellent idea, I'd forgotten about the online co-op potential. Also a chance to compare kill scores head to head. We really should get around to organizing an Armada ladder tournament or something. Although I do not want to be matched against you Chris, I need to learn your system for building. I'm always outnumbered :p
 

Lorien

Rear Admiral
*Phew* This is quite a long series. At least I'm starting to catch up on things.

T'Lan Meth 1:

With the party well in the past, I enter the briefing room as the Midway jumps into the T'Lan Meth system. A Kilrathi planet E'Loy as being blockaded by the aliens, but there's intense jamming that prevents us from obtaining any more information. Most of the Midway's fighters will be dispatched to assist the Kilrathi planet, but my Alpha wing has been assigned to search a nearby asteroid field to find the source of the jamming. Assisting our efforts will be Maniac's Bravo wing. Maniac should be over the moon during this mission, he's just been promoted to command the Black Widow squadron, which includes myself. I'm confident enough now not to let his command effect my flying. I hear Hawk razzing Maniac as I depart for my fighter.

Being a Black Widow definitely has it's perks. The most noticeable one for today's mission is our assignment to Panther fighters, rather than Tigersharks. I'm a big fan of the Panther from my time in Academy sims, especially if you can remember to keep the fight on the Panther's horizontal plane and take advantage of that engine pod. As I'm getting reacquainted with the controls, Stilletto challenges me to a race to find the jamming device. Our first encounter introduces as to another one of the Alien's tricks. Three of their fighters can join together midflight and when they do, they pack a giant cannon capable of taking my shields down in one hit. I stay out of range of the cannon and clear out it's wingmen before Stilletto and I force the three fighters to break apart and destroy them individually.

We cross Maniac's path at NAv 2 and he reports some strange readings from Nav 3 that he wasn't able to fully identify. We head there to sort things out but are confronted by 7 alien fighters. Maniac's comm signal indicates that he's also run into opposition at the Nav point we cleared out. It seems the aliens are serious about us not finding the jammer. Remembering Stilletto's challenge, I tear into the enemy fighters with everything I've got, seriously depleting my Panther's missile supply in the process. Once they're dealt with I check out the unknowns, some look like jammers, others look like mines. Targetting the jammers, I engage my afterburners and begin to check them out. I'm beginning to worry the Stilletto when the second last of the jammer-looking devices is revealed to be the actual jammer. I give SAR the location and we head back home.

T'Lan Meth 2:

I head into the pilot's lounge to get a drink but find that Maniac's already well ahead of me on the drinks. I slide past his back slaps and go ask Hawk what's on his mind. Hawk replies that one of Maniac's wingmen ejected out in the asteroid field but the SAR don't have a line to retrieve him. Hawk makes his way out of the room, stopping to taunt Maniac. With visions of Blair's abduction floating in my head, I walk over to Maniac to get the full story. There's no sign of the ejected pilot and Maniac's been pulled off rotation to maintain squadron strength. Worse still is the rumour about the aliens taking ejected pilots and doing god only know what to them. My mind already made up, I can't resist taunting Maniac a little before heading off to rescue his wingman.

The CAG's a little reluctant to let me go but isn't going to let that pilot go without a fight, something I appreciate in a CAG. I escort the SAR shuttle to the asteroid field to find that the aliens are already searching it. Worse still, they seem to completely ignore me to go for the shuttle. I scrape two of them off the shuttle's tail before it reports finding the pilot. When they do, however, another one of those ships that took Blair appears, making a beeline for the ejection pod. I break off and tear after it, using my missiles to take down it's shields and my guns to take big chunks out of the armour and structure. It breaks off, but I'm unable to complete the kill before the Devil Ray jumps out. I take care of the remaining two fighters as the SAR tractors in the pilot. I return home to congratulations from Anderson and Rachel. Rachel informs me that I'm getting a bit of a reputation and I can only hope that it bodes well.

T'Lan Meth 3:

There's no time to celebrate the return of the pilot as some additional information about out situation comes through, forcing the Midway to act. The aliens have captured a Kilrathi starbase at Dula 7 and are using it as a staging ground for their own fleet. Much of that fleet is sitting between the station and Midway. We have to keep gathering information until Confed can come through with reinforcements, so our mission today is to conduct a 3 point patrol while an SWACS scans the alien fleet. We are to be ready to assist the SWACS when needed.

The initial alien resistance to our patrol is light and easily taken care of at the first Nav point but, as expected, the aliens have attacked the SWACS scan and we're diverted to assist them. Once I arrive at the SWACS location I lock the nav computer on to the SWACS and use it to target any fighters going after the ship. Once they're dispatched, I move on to the big plasma gun cluster using a corkscrew manuever to avoid fire until I get close enough to start killing the component ships. We move on the Nav 3 without a scratch on the SWACS. Nav 3 is empty, but an alien force ambush us on the way back to the Midway. A lot more aliens target the Seahawk this time around and I'm forced to ignore a few of them on my own tail to keep the SWACS alive. They take a few hits, but nothing past the shields. Our entire flight returns triumphantly to the Midway with barely a scratch on it.

T'Lan Meth 4:

I see Finley in the Pilot's lounge but she doesn't seem interested in talking and I'm running a little late for the briefing so we don't get to chat. I'm only a minute or two late walking in just as the CAG is starting the briefing. It's enough to annoy her, though, and I resolve to try not to hear that sigh again. The SWACS scan has confirmed our suspicions of an enemy fleet massing in this system and we're going to start whittling them down before they can launch their own strike on the Midway. I'll be leading a flight of bombers in a strike against a carrier and its cruiser escort. The CAG's next statement causes quite a stir. The Kilrathi we're going to be working with in this system are from the T'Agg A'Bren Clan, religious zealots from the Cult of Sivar who've been raiding our systems since we defeated the Kilrathi. I don't have the history with the Kilrathi that Hawk and Maniac do and it takes the CAG threatening them with incarceration to quieten them down.

The meeting with the Kilrathi is tense, but uneventful and we combine autopilots and head for the enemy fleet. The Kilrathi declare the carrier to be their target and warn us not to get in the way, but I decide to help them out and start clearing the missile turrets from the carrier using my stormfire and rocket pods. I've taken most of them out when a Devil Ray manages to slip through the fighter cover and damage my fighter from behind. I turn to engage but the Shrike can't keep up with the Devil Ray and I'm force to just exchange fire with the heavy fighter. Eventually it goes down but not before inflicting some hard damage to my ship. Rachel's not going to be happy, but the Kilrathi have managed to destroy the carrier. Our forces move on to the cruiser and I resume my attack upon the turrets as my wingmen attempt to target the vital spots. The turrets are taken out first and I manage to break away and get the finishing shot into the cruiser's engines, destroying it. An alien attack force ambushes us on the way back to the Midway but the fighter cover takes them out with the help of a few well-placed dumbfires from my ship. As expected, Rachel chews me out when I land but otherwise the mission was a smashing success.

I'm stalking the pilot's lounge light at night and come across Finley still working at processing data. She asks me why I'm still up and I come up with the brilliant theory of giving up sleep, which she promtly shoots down. I return the favour and ask what's keeping her up this late. She says that they finally made contact with the Kilrathi on E'Loy. The story that they relay is chilling. After the attack on the capital system, the aliens came and took thousands of prisoners. A few managed to relay some information up that Finley is processing before disappearing themselves. This is beginning to sound a lot like that Kilrathi prophecy. My mind wonders, thinking about what the aliens must be doing to Blair if he hasn't been killed already. Fortunately, Finley snaps me out of it and I head off for some beauty sleep.

T'Lan Meth 5:

I don't quite make it to sleep but my thoughts keep me from making it to breakfast. Hawk catches me as I wander bleary-eyed into the pilot's lounge. He can tell that the loss of Blair is still taking it's toll on me. His question about the nightmares leads me to believe that he's been here before. He gets me to sit down and relates a story from his early days when he lost 3 wingmen in a mission and was ready to get out of the forces on a psych discharge. It took a veteran pilot giving the straight line "They're dead, you're not, get used to it" and then signing on as Hawk's winman to get Hawk back in the groove and even then the pilot had to kill a clan of cats while Hawk got himself together. I ask who the pilot was and I'm a little suprised to hear that it was my father doing that. Hawk's final advice about trying to stay both a good pilot and alive sounds almost fatherly.

Our next mission is sure to set Hawk's teeth on edge, we're to fly and assistance some Kilrathi who are under attack and then escort them to the protection of a nearby Corvette. One look at Hawk's face after the briefing shows what I expected. He tells me that he joined the Space Force to skin cats, not to save them and follows it up with some more information on how my father died. Apparently, the Kilrathi had found his ejection pod brought it in and cut him up before sending the pod back. They ommitted that detail in order to spare my family. He has a point about owing the cats some payback, but the cats who did that to my father are probably not around any more.

The Dralthi we are sent to save are a damaged mess by the time we arrive, but some excellent flying and profligate missile usage sees the aliens destroyed with any Kilrathi losses. As far as Hawk's concerned the fight's not over and he tells me that he's disabled our flight recorders so that we can attack the Kilrathi with impugnity. I'm naturally upset over what they did to my father but now's not the time to take it out at them not when there are people alive who I care about at risk. The Kilrathi can help us fight what's threatening them and that's enough to keep my finger off the fire button. Hawk is obviously pissed off over the flight comms and even more so after we land kicking over a workstand before departing in a huff. Rachel asks what happened and I reply that I have no idea.
 
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