Personal Log, 2654.110, 1830hrs
We jumped into Enyo today, and I was assigned to patrol duty in a Hornet. The colonel put me in charge of Alpha Wing, with Spirit alongside. Frankly, I was surprised. A rookie like me, flying lead with someone with the reputation of Spirit? I guess the colonel figured I could use the training and confidence boost. We had three nav points to hit, with a couple of asteroid fields scattered about.
We launched and headed out to Nav 1. Ran into three Dralthi before we got there. I told Spirit to break and attack, and we went after the kats. The Dralthis swung around, and we went head to head. During training, it was hammered into our heads that the greatest number of kills happen in head-to-head situations. Well, no kills for anyone this time. I did, however, manage to damage one of the Dralthis, in exchange for some light shield damage. While my shields recharged, I banked around, and spotted the Dralthi I’d just shot up. It was easy enough to ID, what with the sparks pouring out of its engines. Spirit fired at the other two Kilrathi, so I afterburned past them to the damaged fighter, and fired a few laser bursts into his engines. They exploded, taking the Dralthi with them.
Feeling somewhat elated with my first kill, I turned around, to find Spirit duking it out with one of the remaining Dralthi, while the other came straight at me. I settled my gunsight over him, and sent a few laser shots his way. Didn’t do too much damage. As the Dralthi flashed past my Hornet, I cut left as hard as I could, intending to get on his tail. Unfortunately, the Kilrathi pilot picked that moment to break right, and our ships collided. I was lucky – my shields had been at full strength prior to the collision, and we hit at a glancing angle. The shields took the impact, and started to recharge.
Shaken up, I maneuvered my way back onto the tail of the Dralthi. I don’t know if the pilot was injured in the collision, or if his ship had taken some kind of damage my targeting system couldn’t pick up. All I know is he made one very slight evasive maneuver, and then flew in a straight line. At first, part of me felt bad for vaping a foe that obviously couldn’t fight back. Then my mind flashed back to the story I’d read of one Lt. Dibbles. For all I knew, this Dralthi pilot was faking the damage…my target VDU still showed his fighter as fully functional. Giving my 6 o’clock a quick check to make sure this wasn’t a similar ambush, I tightened up on the trigger, and destroyed the damaged Dralthi.
I came back around, and headed back towards Spirit. As I got within range of her target, she let a missile fly and pulled up. The missile spun the Dralthi around, but didn’t destroy it. The kat pilot was good – he recovered quickly, and used the spin of the ship to latch onto Spirit’s tail. Before he could take advantage of his position, I fired a quick laser burst, and scored a direct hit. Spirit’s missile had done enough damage that a single burst of laser fire took the Dralthi down.
We headed for Nav 2, and ran into the first set of asteroids. Never flown through asteroids before, not in real life anyway. I swear I could almost hear them whizzing by the cockpit. My mind flashed back to one of my first instructors. He used to tell stories of asteroids that, no matter how fast or slow you traveled, would blast your ship apart in a single hit. We used to joke that his brown hair would keep him safe, since it seemed to be a trademark of his. No one really believed him about the asteroids, of course. I’ve heard rumors that Confed kicked him out. Something about not wanting an instructor to do some privateering on the side…
Anywho, we got through the rocks, and made our way to Nav 3. Ran into a pair of Salthi. We made a head to head pass on the kats, who, for some reason, didn’t fire back. Spirit and I broke, and each went after one Kilrathi. I latched onto the tail of my target, and started firing. At this point, I found out one thing – Dralthis die easier. Salthis are officially tagged as light fighters, while Dralthis are mediums. I don’t know who wrote that description…all I know is that damn Kilrathi wouldn’t blow up. He was maneuvering enough that a missile would have a hard time staying locked on, so I kept using lasers. What Paladin had told me about Salthis breaking to the left proved true. Fortunately, I was ready for it, and arced around right back onto the Salthi’s 6 o’clock. A few more shots, and the Salthi finally exploded.
I realized I’d gotten well out of range of Spirit, so turned back towards and raced in at full afterburner. I saw sparks coming out of her engines, and knew she’d taken some damage. Pure, rookie mistake on my part, letting that Salthi draw me away from my wingman like that. I figured I’d catch hell for it back on the Claw. Still, Spirit had obviously damaged the Salthi as well, since it only took a few shots from my lasers to kill it.
We traveled the last bit of distance to Nav 3, before swinging around and heading for the Claw. There was a small asteroid field in the way, but we handled it no problem. The Claw sure was a beautiful sight to see upon our return. We landed, and met up with Colonel Halcyon on the hangar deck for debriefing.
Despite my earlier fears about being chewed out for leaving Spirit in the midst of the dogfight, nothing was ever said about it. In fact, Spirit actually praised me and my piloting abilities. Halcyon seemed impressed by what Spirit said, so that’s got to be good. He ran through the mission logs quickly, and pointed out that out of the five fighters we faced, I’d shot them all down.
Hot damn…my first mission out, and I’m already an ace. In your face, Todd.
Personal Log, 2654.111, 1745 hours
Today started with a briefing at 0640. I was supposed to fly with Spirit again, in Epsilon Wing. Had to take a Drayman out to a local jump point. The Drayman was right outside when we launched, so off we went. Instead of going straight to the jump point, we had to head around an asteroid field. Our Hornets could have made it no trouble, but that Drayman would have been smashed up by the first rock it saw.
As we dropped out of autopilot at Nav 1, a pair of Salthi were waiting for us. A quick head to head pass, and Spirit and I each picked a Salthi to attack. Unfortunately, she picked the same one I did. As soon as I saw her firing on my target, I broke off and went after the other kat. It went down pretty easily. I turned to join Spirit with the other one. Couldn’t take a shot at first, since the Salthi was breaking past the Drayman, and any shots I took that missed would have hit the transport. Instead, I chased the Salthi past the Drayman – too bad the Salthi picked that moment to cut his engines and spin around. I’m sure the colonel would be thrilled to know I’m now two missions in and have scraped paint in each one. As the Salthi rebounded from the hit, Spirit’s lasers chewed him up nicely, and he exploded.
We set course for Nav 2, while I watched my forward shields. They’d been obliterated when I hit the Salthi, and my forward armor was gone as well. The shields got back to full strength quick enough, and my computer showed no damage beyond the armor.
As we hit Nav 2, a trio of Dralthi were waiting for us. Knowing Spirit could handle one, we picked our targets and attacked. I went head-on at one of them, gave it three quick laser bursts, followed by a dumbfire, hoping to kill it quickly. The plan was to knock one fighter out of commission and attack the second, while Spirit handled #3. The first Dralthi didn’t die like I wanted him too, though, so I had to spend an extra second delivering the final blow. That extra second proved enough time for another Dralthi to fly past the Drayman, turn, and start hammering her shields. I went to full burner and opened fire as soon as I cleared the transport. It took 6 shots, but the Dralthi went down.
With just the one Dralthi left, I dove back in and assisted Spirit with it, destroying it with a few more laser blasts. I turned to give the Drayman a once over before she jumped out, and couldn’t help but notice the damage she’d taken. It wasn’t much, but it still galled me to think I’d let her take that many hits.
The Drayman jumped out just fine, though, so Spirit and I set course back for the Claw, dodging through some asteroids en route. After we landed, the crew chief informed me that “looks like it got a little hot out there”. The tone he said it in implied that I had dared to damage his fighter, and I’d be damn lucky if he let me borrow his bird for a mission again. I’ve heard about mechanics like that before. Who knew there’d be one on the Claw?
The colonel seemed pretty pleased with the mission results, though. Four kills for me, one for Spirit, and the Drayman through the jump point. He called me up to his office a bit later and told me that we were leaving Enyo, and as a result, I’d be getting transferred to Blue Devil Squadron, flying Scimitars.
Ten minutes later, I was back on the hangar deck, surrounded by a great deal of the Claw’s crew, as Halcyon pinned a Bronze Star on my chest. Pretty nice pair of days, all things considered. Two missions, a medal, and nearly a double ace. Think I’ll go stop by Sam’s for a quick drink, then it’s off to bed. Got morning patrol duty.
Personal Log, 2654.131, 1115 hours
We jumped into McAuliffe today, and I pulled patrol duty again, this time with Paladin. Basic 4 point patrol in theory, but the colonel wanted us to investigate what looked like a mine field at nav 3. Yay?
There was a trio of Dralthi at Nav 1. They started firing their lasers at range, but the Scim’s shields were able to shrug off the hits as we closed in. Once we were in range, I fired, and found out just how wonderful mass drivers are compared to lasers. The first Dralthi went up in a fireball quickly enough that I was able to target and hit a second Dralthi a couple of times before we were past each other. Paladin went after the remaining fighter while I swung around to finish off the second. We swung into a scissor pattern, jockeying for position. Around that time, I noticed my lock-on alarm going nuts – turned out the first kat had fired a missile just before he bought it, and that missile had decided to come around and lock on to me. I spotted the yellow blip on my radar, waited till it was closing in, then broke hard right at full burner. The missile disappeared from radar, so I came about and put a few more MD shots into the Dralthi. Kill #2 for this mission.
As I banked left to join Paladin, he sent the other Dralthi to the great litterbox in the sky…do they even have litterboxes on Kilrah? Point being, as the Dralthi exploded, Paladin came across the comm channel, saying, “That one was for my father”. Kind of brought the war home again for me. I mean, I and my family haven’t exactly been free from harm in this war, but mostly it seems like anything bad is just covered in the newsvids. Hearing my wingman talk about losing a father to the Kilrathi…almost made me forget about flying for a second or two. Thank God the other Dralthi were already gone.
We went for Nav 2, found it clear, and proceeded to Nav 3. I’ve discovered I hate mine fields. I tried handling it the way I handled the asteroids with Spirit the other day. After all, I had managed to get through those rocks without a scratch.
Mines aren’t rocks.
They don’t scratch.
They blow up and cause parts of your hull to turn to vapor.
I hate mines.
As strong as the Scim was in comparison to the Hornet, even she couldn’t take the pounding for long, so I settled on finding a hole in the visible mines, pointing my nose towards it, and tapping the burners. Then find another hole, and repeat. Got through the rest of the mines that way, and headed for Nav 4.
Three Salthis were waiting at Nav 4. I guess the Kilrathi like flying in 3 ship formations as much as we do in pairs. The first attack left one Salthi a floating mass of debris, and a second trailing sparks. It also left me without forward shields, and having a dumbfire shot off my wing pylon. As I punched my ship around, my lock-on alarm went off again. Now, I don’t know what Intel genius wrote the guidelines to kitty ships, but I swore Salthis were only supposed to have dumbfires…and yet this one fires a missile that locks on? Here we go again, playing “Dodge the missile”. Ah well, missile dodged, and a few seconds later, one more Salthi goes up in flames.
The last Salthi pilot was good – he knew he was in a maneuverable light fighter, and we were in the so-called “centaurian mud pigs”. He started juking and dodging with every bit of skill he had, but eventually we hemmed him in. Paladin fired a missile, which impacted at the same moment my mass driver shots did. The Salthi went up in a rather large explosion. I wasn’t sure who got the kill, figured we’d find out in debriefing.
We got back to the Claw, and I found out I’d picked up some moderate damage to my intercom during the patrol. I couldn’t wait to find out what my crew chief would think of that. Sure enough, he was waiting for me when the cockpit opened. “Looks like it got a little hot out there, sir.”
…what, not even a new line? I figured for sure he’d try and rip me a new one. Maybe it’s because mission #3 featured no collisions.
Halcyon seemed impressed when he debriefed Paladin and I. Said I handled the Kilrathi like an old pro. I quickly tried to give Paladin his due, since we both deserved credit for the mission, but Paladin shrugged it off. I was credited with another 5 kills, with Paladin picking up 1. Guess that last Salthi did fall to my guns, not the missile.
Halcyon said he wanted to see me in his office later on, though at the time I couldn’t imagine why. Last time I got called in, it was to swap squadrons, but I figured where I’d only flown one mission in the Blue Devils, it couldn’t be that…
Turns out to have been a promotion! The Claw is now home to a new 1st Lieutenant. 3 missions in, 14 kills, and already promoted. I’ve heard said that fighter pilots are amongst the most egotistical people alive. I’d say achievements like this deserve to flash some ego around. Not too much though. Last thing the Claw needs is another Maniac.
Better wrap this up. The colonel had said something about another mission for most of us this afternoon.
Personal Log, 2654.131, 1820 hours
My first look at a momma kitty. Paladin and I were sent to investigate a bogey about 90,000 clicks from the Claw. Intel couldn’t tell if it was a transport or a warship, so we were tasked with checking it out, and trying to kill it if we could.
Four Dralthi were on wide patrol as we approached. Paladin and I each took 2 of them. I shot at the lead, and, unfortunately for him, so did his wingman. He broke off to the side, giving me a chance to score a couple of hits on the wingman while he was distracted. I broke hard to starboard to keep after them, and managed to hit the lead again a few more times, till his ship exploded. The kat wingman, meanwhile, had tried to follow his lead’s maneuver, but all that did was sit him right in my gunsight. A couple of shots were all it took to dispatch the Dralthi.
Coming about, I was about to help Paladin, at least until it turned out the other two Dralthi were intent on helping me die – Paladin was chasing after them at full burner, but they were still easily within range to take some potshots at me. I dodged the laser shots as best I could, and let the shields handle the couple I couldn’t squeeze by. I then cut back, dropped my sight over the rearmost Dralthi, and pulled the trigger. Paladin must have damaged that ship before, because it blew up almost instantaneously. The other Dralthi pressed his attack, weaving around Paladin’s fire to come at me head-on. I managed to shoot him down by anticipating him breaking left as he came in close to my Scimitar.
We kept heading for Nav 1 at that point. When I caught my first glimpse of the bogey, my first words were “…transport my ass!” Paladin didn’t say anything. Glad I wasn’t flying with Maniac. He’d have said something about “I don’t think they could fit your ass in a Drayman”, and I’d have to waste valuable time killing him.
There were a pair of Krants flying CAP for the big ship, which my system IDed as a Ralari destroyer. We went after the Krants first, and I discovered that the Kilrathi are rather idiotic. Here they have a medium fighter that, even with lasers, seemed a lot more potent than the Dralthis I’ve been flying against so far, yet they seem to believe the Dralthi is the greatest thing since sliced catnip. Maybe Dralthis are easer to build or something. Let’s just hope no Kilrathi ever read what I just said…
Managed to take out the first Krant, then turned for the second. As I did, Paladin broke off his attack on the Krant, and went after the Ralari. While dogfighting with the Krant, I was able to keep track of Paladin, and he just strafed the hell out of that destroyer, from tip to stern and back again. I killed the other Krant, then joined Paladin in an attack from the rear of the Ralari, trying to set off her engines. Sure enough, explosion after explosion came from her engines, till a titanic explosion ripped the entire ship apart. There was barely enough debris left to fill a thimble.
We landed back on the Claw a short time later. Halcyon was pleased again, and Paladin was quick to say I’d done everything, that he was just along for the ride. As much as I appreciated the offer, I wanted to make sure Paladin got his due credit for the mission. Turns out Halcyon was just going to award kills based on the flight recorders, which said I picked up 7 and Paladin got 0. That can’t be right, though. I mean, Paladin did all the work on that Ralari, I just helped in the end. Maybe I can at least convince Halcyon to split the kill, if I have to get credit for it.
I got called back to the hangar deck a little bit later – apparently, I earned another Bronze Star with that last mission. As everyone on the deck applauded, I looked around for Paladin – last thing I wanted was to have him upset that I’d been awarded a medal for kills he should have been creditited with. He was there, smiling and clapping away. That man must have the smallest ego of any fighter pilot I’ve ever seen. Then again, when you’ve been flying fighters for 20-some odd years, I imagine you learn to keep ego under control. Here’s hoping I’ll still by flying in 20 years. Just hope it’s in a peacetime Confed, not against the Kilrathi.
Personal Log, 2654.132, 1700 hours
Faced down a Kilrathi ace today. Since we’re heading out to Gimle tomorrow, we were supposed to escort some transports in to the Claw. Rumor had it Bhurak Starkiller was in system, so everyone was prepping themselves to deal with him. Paladin and I set course for Nav 1, and got there ahead of the Drayman. What we didn’t get there ahead of were the four Krants that were going to make a play for the transport.
The first Krant fell to my guns in the first pass, the second would join him after I swung onto his tail, and latched on – I was getting shaken off. Just stay in his 6 o’clock, and hammer till he dies. Got the third Krant just as the Drayman jumped in. I went to full burner, intending to get the fourth before it could attack the transport. Paladin got there first, though, and fired a missile that spun the Krant around, preventing him from getting a lock on the Drayman. With the Kilrathi disoriented, I took advantage and hit him hard, and the Krant exploded.
We synced our autopilots up with the transport and set course for the Claw. Halfway there, we ran into a trio of Salthis. On their own, not a problem. Only issue was Bhurak Starkiller flying lead for the formation. He started taunting us as soon as we were within range. I fired a Friend or Foe missile at the Salthis, hoping it would distract one of them long enough for Paladin and I to nail the other two – it didn’t. Bhurak broke hard around the missile, and then came back around at us. Sighting him up, I fired, and scored a few hits, forcing him to break off. Rather than pursue, I swung around to engage another Salthi, preventing it from attacking the Drayman. That Salthi exploded quickly, leaving Paladin with his Salthi, and I with Bhurak. Bhurak’s good – it’s easy to see how he’s become one of Kilrah’s best known aces. Still, I’d like to think I held my own. Eventually, after hitting him a couple more times, Bhurak turned away from the fight and went to full burner. Guess he didn’t want to suck vacuum today. Seeing Bhurak flee, the remaining Salthi turned from Paladin and took off running as well. Knowing the mission was to protect the transport, we let the kats run.
Back on the Claw, Halcyon passed along that the Drayman commander wanted to convey his thanks for the protection. I was officially credited with five kills, and having “given the kats a black eye”, according to Paladin. He, on the other hand, didn’t get any kills. I talked to him before the mission today, and he seems not to mind not getting kills. Just as long as he and his wingman come home in one piece, and the mission is successful. Could learn a lot from a man like that.
Personal Log, 2654.135, 0915 hours
Not too much time for a log entry. Halcyon says we’ve got a busy day today, and we’ll all likely be flying multiple missions here in Gimle. Angel and I, as Zeta wing, were assigned to assist an Exeter class destroyer that was under attack by some Jalthi. As soon as we launched, we found ourselves under attack by a pair of Salthi. I switched to full guns, lined up, and pulled the trigger.
There wasn’t a Salthi, or much of anything, left behind.
I think I like the Raptor.
Obviously, the other Salthi pilot didn’t, since he disappeared off my radar quickly.
We got the Nav 1, and found a trio of Jalthi assaulting the Exeter. I sent Angel after one, then dove in on the other two. I fired a quick volley at the first, making him shy off, then turned my attention to the second. Jalthi’s have a lot of punch up front, but once you’re on their tail, that’s pretty much it. The Raptor’s twin mass drivers and twin neutrons chewed that Jalthi up in no time flat. Turning about, I peeled up and over the Exeter, and slipped in behind the Jalthi I’d first attacked. Got a couple of shots in with my guns, then fired a heatseeker as soon as I saw his shields go down. Missile tracked straight in and blew the Jalthi to pieces.
Angel was working on the final Jalthi, so I joined in on that attack. The kat made one last desperate attempt to break between us and make a run at the destroyer, but I turned after him and connected with a full volley, destroying the fighter.
I did a quick check on the Exeter – she was pretty badly damaged, but even so, was in far better condition than she would have been had Angel and I not shown up. En route back to the Tiger’s Claw, we ran into a lone Salthi – must have been the one that tried to run back at the start of our mission. He died as easily as the first Salthi had, with barely an evasive maneuver. Two more blips showed up on our radar near the Claw – turned out to be another pair of Salthi. They at least tried to make a fight of it. Unfortunately for them, by that point I’d pretty well discovered that the Raptor fits me like a glove. Almost feels like I could just set course for Kilrah in this bird, and actually make it there.
I was credited with seven kills off this mission, and due to those kills plus saving the Exeter, I was awarded a Gold Star.
Personal Log, 2654.135, 1300 hours
20 minutes till the next briefing. This schedule’s running me a bit ragged. Don’t know who I impressed in the higher ups, but Angel and I were picked to run the first combat sortie in the Rapier fighter. She’s a beautiful ship, but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on with her.
We had a three point patrol. The asteroids at Nav 1 were no problem – went through them faster than I did in a Hornet. 4 Dralthi were waiting for us at Nav 2. Took one of them out in three hits with the lasers and neutrons together. Angel nailed one herself just as I finished battering a third into oblivion. The last Dralthi stayed at a distance and fired a missile, which my shields handled with ease – only down to half strength, and then almost immediately recharged to full strength. I came about and kicked in my afterburners, slid around behind the Dralthi while he concentrated on Angel, and blasted him to bits.
Two Gratha were at Nav 3 – first time I’ve seen one of them. Think they’re actually more dangerous than Jalthis. Sure, a Jalthi’s got more firepower up front, but it’s a mule in the mud. Grathas, though – might not be as maneuverable as a Salthi, but they’ll damn sure try for it. Combine that with the firepower they do have, and it’s a potent ship, one worthy of respect. Those Kilrathi pilots were good too – rather than splitting up one on one, they both focused on me. They battered down my forward shields with a couple of hits, so I broke off. Angel tried to hit one of them from behind, causing it to shy away, and giving me a chance to loop around and catch the other Gratha. It took a massive beating before finally exploding. Angel and I teamed up to take down the other one, which took just as much of a beating. Let’s hope the Kilrathi don’t start building a huge number of these things. The war would get that much nastier.
I’ll have to send a message to Angel to make sure that, when shooting at a Kilrathi, make sure I’m not in the way! Did I sprout ears and fur when I wasn’t looking?
Post-landing, I was awarded with 5 confirmed kills, plus one for Angel. The colonel also called me to his office, and promoted me to Captain. I don’t know if that’s good or not…On the one hand, it says I must be doing something right. On the other hand, it could be that so many people have been failing to come back from their missions that they’re pushing all the new guys like me higher up the command chain because they’ve been forced to.
Well, there’s the call to briefing. Here we go again.
Personal Log, 2654.135, 1900 hours
Just a quick entry before sleep. Three missions in one day, and a Kilrathi ace to boot. Angel and I were sent to check out what appeared to be a formation of Dralthi. Well, they were Dralthi. 9 of ‘em. With Dakhath in the formation. Five of the Dralthi came at us first. They all drew a bead on me and opened fire. My forward shields and armor disappeared before I could even blink. I dove away at full burner to avoid the next volley, which led one Dralthi to chase after me. I stayed in afterburner for an extra second, then cut to the side, using my momentum to slide beyond the kat’s firing lane. As my Raptor’s nose swung around, I lined up and let off three bursts of full guns, and the Dralthi went up in flames.
I turned to starboard, and spotted another Dralthi trying to pull around towards Angel, so I slid in behind and blasted him till his shields fell, then sent one last shot up his tailpipes for another kill. In the meantime, Angel successfully nailed a third kat. One of the remaining two Dralthi picked that moment to panic, and fled, so we took care of the last fighter.
Four more Dralthi showed up, with Dakhath leading. I locked my targeting system onto him, figuring he’d be the most problematic. I hit him with every shot my capacitors could fire without recharging, but his ship, though damaged, didn’t explode. He must have had all his shield energy forward or something. While Angel fired a missile and distracted the other Dralthi, I broke hard left and got onto Dakhath’s tail. Remembering what Iceman had told me about not fearing him while still in my ship, I pressed my attack. Dakhath came over the comm., claiming I’d “not put me in the void”. Too bad for him he said that as I lined up and sent another pair of shots into his engines. The last thing he said before his ship finished becoming a fireball was “The void…the void!”
I came about, and found Angel had done a hell of a job keeping the other Dralthi off my tail while I dealt with Dakhath. She’d damaged each of the 3 Kilrathi, so while she tried to pick one off, I did the same. Followed that up with looping up and over to drop in behind the Dralthi that was trying to get on Angel’s 6 o’clock, and blew him up. Angel then forced the last Dralthi to maneuver away from her – right into my sights. A few shots later, and he was gone as well.
Halcyon seemed pleased enough in debriefing – gave me official credit for 7 kills, plus another for Angel. 19 kills today, plus a promotion and a Gold Star. And I heard Confed marines managed to liberate Brimstone. Sounds like the war in Vega is really starting to turn around.
Now it’s off to bed, for whatever sleep I can get before tomorrow’s missions.