Personal Log, 2654.139, 0920 hours
This day has started off bad…let’s just hope it doesn’t end up worse. I’m supposedly pulling three missions today, and just got back from numero uno. “Disaster” doesn’t quite feel like it measures up.
Knight and I were assigned to fly escort on a hospital ship leaving Fargo. We had to take it out to a local jump point, then head over to another jump point to bring another Drayman back to the Claw, filled with vaccines for Fargo. Watson’s Disease is doing a number on the colonists there.
Five Salthi were on patrol before we got to the 1st navpoint. I dove in, firing guns and missiles at anything my targeting systems could lock on to. One Salthi tried to dodge a missile by pitching up straight into my Raptor – he exploded, while I lost shields and armor. I turned, and fired a couple of bursts into a second Salthi, destroying it. I made a couple of passes at another Salthi while Knight tried to attack one of the others, eventually killing it. The last Salthi had been making attack runs on the Drayman, so I chased after him. A few bursts from the Raptor’s guns were enough to make him break off his attack and head for the hills. Knight’s target, meanwhile, came streaking past me to follow his fellow kat away from the fight.
We resumed heading towards the jump point, and ran into a trio of Krant. The first Krant died when I hit him with a combination of gunfire and an IR missile. As I turned to engage #2, the third Krant attacked the Drayman, prompting the transport commander to fire his engines and attempt to evade. Unfortunately, this resulted in the Drayman slamming into the side of my fighter, destroying all my armor and ripping away my starboard weapons.
I cursed like I hadn’t done since my cadet days, and spun around and kicked in my engines to get away from the transport. Meanwhile, Knight proved that he’s as effective a pilot as a broomstick – his Krant dodged away from his easily, and made run after run on the Drayman.
While I fought to get my half-destroyed Raptor back into the fight, Knight just hung back. That gave those damn kats more than enough time to destroy the Drayman.
I couldn’t believe it – the hospital ship, gone, just like that.
I plunged back into the fight with the Krants, firing every bit my guns could handle. It was enough to destroy the first Krant quickly, and the second didn’t last much longer.
Setting course for Nav 2, I restrained myself from questioning Knight’s piloting ability. After all, I’d been charged with keeping that transport safe, just as much as he had. Still, at least I’d tried. My mind flashed back to the conversation Maniac, Hunter, and I had this morning – they commented on how Knight flew like an old lady, as though he couldn’t find a target if his wingman’s life depended on it. Maybe they were right.
As we arrived at Nav 2, 3 Jalthi were already waiting for the transport. I attacked quickly, hoping that catching the Jalthi off guard would make up for my handicapped fighter. The first one fell to my guns as the Drayman jumped in. I attacked #2, keeping it away from the transport, trusting Knight to do the same with the third. Too bad he was just SITTING THERE IN SPACE!
I managed to kill the second Jalthi, then turned, went full burner past Knight and the Drayman. We got lucky. The pilot of the third Jalthi must have been blind, since he missed the Drayman by a mile with every shot. I fired on him quickly, and sent a HS up his tailpipe. Had to take a deep breath at that point. The fight with the Jalthi trio lasted all of a minute and thirty seconds, but it took a lot out of me. I was not going to lose another transport.
We synced autopilots, and got back to the Claw in one piece. My comm system was nearly destroyed, but I managed to get through and get landing clearance. Halcyon was anything but thrilled about the destruction of the hospital ship, but somewhat mollified by news of the Drayman with Watson Disease vaccines pulling up alongside. I didn’t say anything during debriefing about Knight…seems the kind of thing best handled between Knight and I before I make an issue out of it.
For now, though, I’ve learned my lesson about trusting his piloting abilities.
Just wish all those men and women hadn’t needed to die for that lesson to become clear…
Personal Log, 2654.139, 1300 hours
Briefing in 20 minutes. Just got back from patrol duty with Mr. “I may not be a high-flyer, but I get the job done in one piece”. We flew a standard 3-point patrol. The first stop at Nav 1 led to finding a pair of Gratha in an asteroid field. Knight, as usual, did nothing. I don’t think he’s a cat lover, but I also don’t think I understand how he’s earned as many kills as there are next to his name on the chalkboard.
At Nav 2, there were four Krants on patrol. I targeted one, and told Knight to attack him, figuring that might earn a little more reaction than a standard ‘break and attack’.
In the end, I had to kill all four Krants. The first fell to my guns in the first pass, with the second exploding after I blew his shields down with gunfire, and he decelerated just as I closed in on him for the kill.
He died, I didn’t.
But dammit, I’m tired of scratching the paint. Odds are my crew chief’s tired of it too.
The third and fourth flew like rookies, barely maneuvering as I hammered their fighters, and went down quickly.
At that point, I picked up another pair of Krants and a bigger ship on radar. Closing in, I saw the momma kat was a Ralari. I had a slight smile as I slid into an attacking position on the Krants – this was a chance for me to avenge the loss of the Drayman transport this morning.
The Krants went down in a single pass each, within about 5 seconds of each other. The Ralari, meanwhile, started firing every flak cannon it had at me. One burst hit my fighter directly, and succeeded in destroying my starboard mass driver. I pressed forward with the attack, though, and came up in the rear quarter of the destroyer. Her shields went down after a few bursts, and I was just about to fire the kill shot when Knight, little &%(# that he is, snuck up in front of my sights, fired once, and made the Ralari blow up.
He does nothing all mission.
I do all the work.
And he gets the kill mark for taking down a cap ship.
Well, I guess turnabout is fair play – I did take a kill or two away from Paladin a few days back.
We landed back at the Claw without incident. Halcyon gave me credit for 7 kills, and 1 (the Ralari) for Knight. And as I finish entering this, the briefing alert sounds. Here we go again…
Personal Log, 2654.139, 2000 hours
I’m not sure what to say now.
By all rights, I should be ecstatic: 12 kills, including Baktosh Redclaw and a trio of Dorkirs, a gold star, and promoted to major. Word is I’ll be in Black Lions flying Rapiers when we get to Kurasawa.
But none of it matters.
A pair of Jalthi’s blasted him out of space faster than I could blink.
RIP Joseph.. I promise you the fight won’t end until we win this damn war.
Personal Log, 2654.281, 1800 hours
Well, first time in a long time where I only had to fly one mission today. Bossman and I were sent to take out a Kilrathi convoy that was arriving in system a ship at a time. 6 Dralthi were flying escort on the first Dorkir we sighted. I nailed one of them in the first pass, then things got hectic. Two of the Dralthi pilots decided they were tired of living, or they mistook me for catnip or some such, because they flew straight into my ship, without firing a shot. As they exploded, I breathed a silent prayer of thanks for the Rapier having “God’s own shields” as Hunter put it.
I turned and went after the other Dralthis, dancing from target to target, keeping the focus on me while Bossman went in and killed the transport. I shot down the final Dralthi as Bossman made his final strafing run on the Dorkir.
We got to Nav 2 ahead of the next transport, but there was a wing of Krants waiting for us. After a head to head pass, we broke up into the dogfight, with two coming after me, and one duking it out with Bossman. I lined up on one, and he decided to yell at me over the comm channel. Something about fighting like a still born kitten.
2 seconds later, he was fighting like a vaporized kitten.
I love the smell of charbroiled kitty in the morning…at least I would if I could smell anything in the vacuum of space.
As Bossman and I finished off the Krants, the next Dorkir jumped in right in my sights, so I locked onto her engines and destroyed them quickly.
Bossman and I then set course back to Nav 1, to see if any additional ships had arrived. Two Jalthis came to meet us. I dodged their frontal attacks, but one was apparently a Dralthi pilot in one of his eight former lives, and ended number nine by ramming my fighter. Doing so lost me my port neutron gun, but the three remaining guns were more than enough to finish off the second Jalthi. It blew up just as another Dorkier jumped in. Bossman and I both attacked it, with him getting the killing blow in.
Halcyon was ecstatic when we landed (well…for him, anyway). Turns out the first transport was a C & C ship, so kitty operations in Kurasawa are taking a serious hit. I was credited with another 10 kills, plus the two transports for Bossman.
Sleep time now. Now, if I can just get maintenance to fix that damn leak…
Personal Log, 2654.282, 1700 hours
And just like that, Halcyon was less than ecstatic with me. A company of Marines had managed to capture a Ralari destroyer, and were trying to get to the Claw for protection. The colonel, in his infinite wisdom, sent two of us to get the Ralari back.
The Claw has a rather large compliment of fighters.
We really could have used them out there.
Four Salthi were waiting for us in an asteroid field, attempting to cut us off before we could get to the Ralari. I took down one, then cut hard to the right, forcing the Salthi on my tail to overshoot. As I came around, he did his traditional break-to-the-left, which dropped him right into my sights. A few quick bursts destroyed the fighter. Bossman picked off another one, and the final Salthi, desperately avoiding my fire, slammed into an asteroid at full speed.
When we got to the Ralari, there was a wing of Gratha all over her. We attacked as quickly as we could, but there were two of us, and 4 kats. And dammit, those Gratha pack a punch. Ralari’s die easy as anything for a Raptor, and the same holds true for Gratha.
If only Halcyon had sent more fighters. Bossman and I might have a reputation as two of the best pilots on the ship (us being at the top of the killboard might have something to do with that), but we’re not fighter pilot gods. More pilots could have made a difference out there.
Maybe then we wouldn’t have lost an entire compliment of Marines.
Personal Log, 2654.283, 1645 hours
Saw an old friend today – the TCS Formidable. She was under attack by a wing of Dralthi, with more Kilrathi on the way. When Bossman and I arrived, there were 5 Dralthi lying in wait for the next spot the destroyer would jump in to. I got the first kill, sliding in behind an unsuspecting Dralthi just as the Formidable jumped in. Bossman tagged one himself, while I targeted #3. The other two broke, one going for the Formidable, one trying to get on my tail. I launched a missile at my target, and broke off as the missile impacted, destroying the kat.
As Bossman attacked the Dralthi that was engaging the Formidable, the one that had been on my tail tried to attack Bossman. Wrong move on his part, since it gave me a clear shot from above and behind. Kitty Go Boom.
The last Dralthi skimmed over the Formidable’s hull, and turned to attack me, but in doing so, presented a full view of the pancake shape. That meant every bit of my full-guns blast struck home, destroying the fighter.
We synced up with the Formidable, and started back towards the Claw. 5 Krants tried to ambush us, but they had to have been rookies, eager for a first kill on a capship. Ignoring myself and Bossman, they plunged in at the Formidable. The destroyer took a few hits, but as a trade-off, I was able to get behind the Krants and pick them off one at a time with guns and a couple of well placed missiles up the tailpipes.
During debriefing, I was credited for 9 kills. Now it’s off to freshen up – Cmdr Dell Guardia of the Formidable wants to meet her escort. It’ll be good to see her again.
Personal Log, 2654.284, 0930 hours
So this is Rostov.
They should have named this place Rockstov. There are more asteroids here than there are in some…crazed…asteroid…place…
Dammit, I’m a pilot, not a comedian…wait, why am I talking to myself like this?
Personal Log, 2654.284, 1000 hours
Ok, one round of drinks from Sam later, I’d say my head’s back on a little straighter. The mission this morning was a basic patrol, though the asteroids made it infinitely more “fun”. Iceman and I found two Dralthis patrolling an asteroid field, so we attacked, each killing our target within 10 seconds.
When we hit Nav 3, there was a pair of Gratha. One fired a couple of bursts into my forward shields, then the wingman went full burner straight into my ship. I don’t know how that Raptor held together, but I love that ship more than ever now. The kamikaze attack destroyed damn near everything on that Raptor, though, save for one mass driver and one neutron gun. Four more Gratha showed up, and all of them started attacking Iceman. Maybe they figured my fighter was too damaged to be a threat. Their mistake, since it gave me a chance, hobbled as I was, to close in and hit the Grathas with everything I had left. It took awhile, and I had one or two close calls that sent my ejection warning system into overdrive, but I managed to take out all of the Grathas.
At that point, a Dorkir jumped in. I let Ice take it out by himself – I wanted to baby what was left of my Raptor.
We got back to the Claw in one…well, whatever pieces were left. My crew chief made an off-hand comment that I was lucky to be alive. He wasn’t kidding. Maybe that’s why I was acting a little weird when I first started writing today – burning off the adrenaline from nearly dying. Might have a chat with Paladin about it. He seems like he'd have experienced it from time to time.
The colonel said I’d taken out 7 Kilrathi, plus 2 for Iceman.
I’ve heard Maniac’s gotten himself grounded. Seems he locked onto a Dralthi and fired a heatseeker, but the Dralthi broke off, and the missile locked onto a Drayman beyond. The transport was destroyed a minute later. Somehow, I’m not surprised. Maniac always focuses on getting the kill – doesn’t really seem to be aware of what’s going on beyond his target. With luck, he’ll learn from this, if Halcyon ever lets him near a fighter again. Too bad, though, that like most things in war, it took death for the lesson to be learned.
Personal Log, 2654.284, 1630 hours
Iceman and I were sent to take out a Ralari destroyer this afternoon. A wing of Salthis were on wide patrol, and tried to attack us in an asteroid field. They almost got me when I dodged some laser fire from a pair of the Salthis and nearly slammed into an asteroid. Fortunately, for all the reputation the Raptor apparently has for being “clumsy”, she’s danced to every tune I’ve called ,and I managed to slide around the rock. As I did, Iceman managed to kill one Salthi, leading the rest to focus their attacks on him. This gave me the opening to mow them down. Much easier than against the Grathas this morning.
As we approached the Ralari’s position, there were four Jalthi flying CAP, in two two-ship formations. Since the second formation was on the far side of the Ralari, Iceman and I focused our attacks on the first. I slid past the first, and latched onto his tail, knocking down his shields before trying for a missile. My launch mechanism must have miscued or some such, because no missile fired, so I tightened up on the trigger and sent a few more bursts towards the Jalthi, destroying it.
I turned, and joined in Iceman’s attack on the second Jalthi. Between the two of our Raptors, we were hitting it with more firepower than most anything could withstand, and the fighter exploded nearly instantaneously.
By that point, the second CAP wing had come within range, so I got their attention while Iceman went after the destroyer. The Jalthi pilots were good, but they weren’t able to maneuver well enough to keep me in their firing arcs. The first one fell after three bursts of gunfire. I had to maneuver to stay on the second while waiting for my capacitors to refill, before hammering him into oblivion as well.
I turned to help Iceman with the Ralari, and noticed the ship was all but destroyed. I got a lock-on tone from my IR missile, and fired – it proved to be the killing blow.
Ended up with 8 kills, so a total of 15 on the day.
Personal Log, 2654.285, 1800 hours
I earned a Gold Star today. Iceman and I were sent to investigate a huge bogey Tactical had gotten a fix on. We skimmed the edges of a couple asteroid fields on the way out, and found 4 Krants waiting in the area the bogey was supposed to be jumping into next. The Krants were lead by Khajja the Fang. Iceman went after the other Krants, while I attacked Khajja. He kept taunting, but I kept my cool, and saved my shots for when they’d count. We ended up scissoring our way away from the dogfight, but in the end, I was able to get on his tail and hit him repeatedly, till his Krant went up in a huge fireball.
Coming about, I went full burner back towards Iceman, and managed to draw one of the Krants away, while Iceman fired on the other two. I destroyed my target, and was about to join with Iceman in handling the other two, when the “bogey” jumped in.
It was a Fralthi.
Maybe it’s the fact that it jumped in right on top of me, but that ship seemed positively HUGE. The Intel reports say they’re about 500 meters long, but that cap ship looked like it could have swallowed the Claw whole, at least at the time.
Iceman managed to destroy one of the Krants, and went after the other while I dove in to attack the Fralthi. They might be big, but it turns out they’ve got the same weakness as any other Kilrathi capship – the engines are a big ol’ bullseye, with barely any guns to defend that area. Bossman had said something about the kats building their ships that way on purpose, to force their captains not to retreat. Whatever the reason, it gives us a rather nice advantage. As Iceman took out the last Krant, I finished another strafing run on the Fralthi, setting off a series of explosions that destroyed the ship.
On the way home, we ran into four Dralthis in an asteroid field. In true Kilrathi style, they all attacked Iceman – every one of them. That man must have his face painted on the side of his fighter, with a big “Hey, shoot me!”
Since the Dralthi were so inclined to ignore me, I chose to not ignore them, and started firing. Two died in my first pass, and the third took shield damage. I punched my Raptor up and around, dodging an asteroid in the process, and hit the third Dralthi with a missile, destroying it. The last Dralthi pilot, showing a slight amount of brains, took off at full speed, trying to get away from me. Were we not in an asteroid field, I’d have chased, but going at that speed through these rocks would be as much suicide as flying with Maniac.
We managed to get back to the Claw, where the strange events started – Halcyon started telling me I had some nerve coming back without finishing the mission objectives, with something about losing the bogey in there.
Then, a few minutes later, he was pinning a Gold Star on my chest in award for killing the Fralthi.
Maybe he’s the one who needs that drink at Sam’s.
Rumor has it we’re heading to Venice tomorrow. If it’s true, that means we’re taking a shot at Kilrathi Sector HQ.
Hot damn, we might just win this thing after all.