Half of my journal for the missions. I should have the remainder in a few days.
As expected from my reconnaissance from the previous mission, we’re going after the second ship killer we spotted in our Vampires. Instead of going after the Ship Killer in a Shrike, we’ll be launching in new bombers called Devastators. The Devastators have been given new shield technology that should be better than the experimental missiles we’ve tried out before.
As soon as we reach the nav point with the Ship Killer, there is a bit of a welcoming committee. There are Morays and Mantas here along with three capital ships and a Barracuda corvette. I notice that the Devastator has more missiles than the Shrike did, and discover that part of the reason is the lousy maneuverability of this bomber. Hitting anything besides capital ships in this thing is going to be a major challenge. One of our pilots is blown away by the aliens, and I hope our fighter escort keeps me from having a similar fate. I manage to get two hits from the Devastator’s plasma cannon to shoot down a Manta. My rear end has taken some armor damage, and I keep on the communication channel to request assistance. The fighter cover does its job on clearing away my attacker. I then sucker a Moray into a direct attack, and another bug bites the dust. The alien fighter cover is cleared out, so it’s time to take on the capital ships. I disable the engines on the Orca with five hits from the plasma cannon. I do serious damage to its bridge, but have to peel off before dealing the final blow. We lose yet another pilot to the bugs, and Maestro bails out of his ship. I tag the Orca’s bridge, and head right for the Ship Killer. One of the Vampires is killed by the turrets of the Kraken. Another pilot ejects from his ship, and I wonder how many losses will be taken before we’re done here. I bring down the bridge of the Kraken, and head right for its engines. Five shots with the plasma cannon scuttle the Ship Killer for good. All that’s left is a Triton transport, and it should be easy pickings for our bombers. Only two shots are needed to fry the bridge and I follow suit with the engines of the Triton. We head back for the Midway, and I hope we don’t run into more bugs since my fuel is almost exhausted. Fortunately, there are no further alien encounters and Anderson congratulates me on my work. Stiletto also has praise for me after I land, and is starting to believe my ‘press’.
Due to our approach to the Kilrah jump point, the aliens have diverted a large portion of their fleet to this system. Our sensors have detected a large strike force approaching the Midway’s position. I’m to protect the plasma weapon of the Midway at all costs. All wings will be launched to specific defensive zones to counter the attack. Our fighters are still getting modifications from the engineering division for the missiles and shields.
During launch, Anderson emphasizes how important it is to protect the Midway’s plasma weapon. I look for the largest threat and see some Stingrays. I head right for the nearest one on full afterburners, but it has combined with two other Stingrays. I take a few hits from the plasma shots of the Stingray cluster, but I get it to break apart. I can’t try a direct attack like that again if I want my frontal armor to not get blasted thru. I take down three of the Stingray segments with my missiles, and three more are eliminated by the guns of my fighter. The bugs have brought in more ships to attack, but they are fairly far away. I let the standard speed of the Vampire get me closer, but a call for help from Anderson makes me decide that speed is of the essence here. I go after the Stingrays that Anderson made a call of help for. The cluster must have been broken apart by the turrets of the Midway, since there are just the segments to deal with. I nail one just as two more of its buddies try to merge into a cluster again. Four more Stingrays are squashed, and there are no attackers left to try to take out the Midway’s plasma weapon. Anderson congratulates me on saving the situation, and after landing Rachel says that my father would have been proud.
Thanks to my success on the previous mission, the Midway will use its plasma weapon against the alien fleet heading our way. The CAG emphasizes that we’ll have to work twice as hard on this mission to ensure success. I’ve been assigned to plant a thermonuclear primer on the center part of the fleet to make sure the plasma shot from the Midway has the correct catalyst for maximum effectiveness. All available fighter wings from the Midway will launch to deal with any alien fighters. My objective is to put the primer on a transport at the heart of the fleet. To ensure I don’t make a targeting mistake, the primer will only lock on the transport. Once the primer is on the transport, I’m to get as much distance from it as possible to avoid the blast. The CAG emphasizes for us to stay focused and wishes us a successful mission.
Together, we all meet the alien force at the first nav point. There is a destroyer, cruiser, and carrier here along with the transport and a bit of alien fighter cover. Some Vampires take out a Moray that was in my sights, and I gun down a Manta. My bomber takes multiple hits thru its shields and armor, and I know I can’t afford to keep this up if my bomber is to return in one piece. Fortunately, our fighters are around to bail me out and I commence my run on the transport. It takes two attempts for me to get the primer on the transport, and one of our pilots is lost for good. Finley congratulates me on putting the primer on the transport, and emphasizes to clear the area. I lock afterburners, and the Midway shoots its plasma weapon.
I see the plasma shot go off, and manage to see a flash from the hit to the transport. All of the capital ships are wiped out in a spectacular explosion and I manage to get clear of the blast to land on the Midway. The shields of our carrier hold against the large amounts of debris from the shattered fleet. There is a large crowd to welcome and congratulate me, and I see Commodore Blair. He struggles to say something, and then decides to salute me. I return the salute, and he nods his head in recognition of my accomplishments. I get a few pats on the back from Maestro after checking my performance score, and manage to see the carnage from the blasted bits of the capital ships from the window in the Rec room. We’re all celebrating there, and Stiletto comments that more plasma guns like the one on the Midway could carve out a corner of the universe. Maestro says that he’d like to share his happy gun with Stiletto, and she slaps him softly for his lewd remark. Stiletto notices that the Captain just entered the Rec room and calls us to attention. The CAG is along with the Captain, and congratulates us on clearing a path to the Kilrah jump point. Once we are thru the jump, we’ll head straight for the Wormhole Gate. The Captain tells us to be prepared for the Gate to be very heavily defended. Zero asks if the Midway’s weapon will be helping out to make short work of the remaining aliens. The Captain tells us the bad news that the plasma weapon turned out to be a fire-and-forget weapon. It was fired once, and we can forget about using it again due to the high risk of a fatal overload that would destroy the Midway. The Captain says that we’ll have to stick to winning our approach to the Gate mission by mission. The CAG says to expect a mission as soon as we have cleared our jump into Kilrah. Zero shakes his head as the Captain and the CAG leave, no doubt wondering how much it will take for us to succeed and at what cost. Just as I head to the ready room to check the computer, I overhear the CAG telling Blair that she won’t let him fly. The Commodore threatens the CAG that the Captain will deal with her, but she says the Captain will let her do her job. Blair asks why he’s not been allowed to help out, and the CAG says that he’s not ready. The Commodore points out that he has clearance to fly from the Captain and the flight surgeon. The CAG says that her decision is the one that matters over whether Blair can fly again. Blair sits down in exasperation and says that he’s too old to be dealing with this, and notices that I’ve overheard the conversation. He pipes in that he feels that I’m too young, and I ask him if he really wants to fly again. Blair says that we wants to help out more than anything, and thinks that he’s a better pilot than a staff officer. I wonder why he would want to face the bugs again after what they did to him, and he says that he wants to make sure that nobody else has to experience the same thing. Blair says that this new menace makes the Kilrathi he fought against for half his life seem like housecats. Blair wants the bugs to be stopped, and says that he wants to do his share regardless of what the CAG says.