Beta Wing (McAuliffe System)

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Beta Wing
Date 2654.131.0615
Fighter Scimitar
Wingmen James Taggart
Objectives Proceed to Nav Point 1

Proceed to Nav Point 2
Proceed to Nav Point 3
Proceed to Nav Point 4
Return to Tiger's Claw

Previous Epsilon Wing (Enyo System)
Next Theta Wing (McAuliffe System)

Mission Layout

The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel Carl T. LaFong

Our four point patrol is designed to make sure potential jump points are clear. I'm flying with Paladin on my wing this time, and from everything I've heard, the 45-year-old Scotsman is as protective of his leader as anyone in the fleet. That's a relief. It's obvious that he's skilled or he'd never have survived his 22 years as a combat pilot.

We've moved into Scimitar medium fighters for this round against the felines, and I'm a little concerned that the decreased range of the Gatling mass-driver cannon it carries will be detrimental. Paladin reassures me that its greater power more than makes up for the loss in range, but the Scimitar is also a bit slower than the light Hornets. Luckily, most of the increased weight is due to the alloy armor and these babies are really protected in the rear. That sure can't hurt when your concentration is keyed on a target to the front and a wily Dralthi commander sneaks into a rear position and starts blasting away.

Immediately on autopilot, we were headed toward Nav 1 when Paladin yelled a warning. Three Dralthi were crossing from left to right directly in our path. I told him to keep formation and broke hard to the left, hoping to approach the Dralthi wing from the rear. I was partially successful. As soon as we closed within 3500 kilometers they started to swing around and meet our attack. I told Paladin to attack my target, punched the throttle and began a wavelike up-and-down and side-to-side motion to foil their first shots.

Paladin slipped up and to the left while I continued evasive tactics. I didn't even fire a shot until the first Dralthi rocketed by me. Then I hit the afterburners and turned to follow. I armed a Javelin HS, but the Dralthi was quick to roll and loop and I wasn't able to get a lock, so I decided to rely on the power of my guns. As long as I stayed close and didn't waste blaster power while out of range, this guy was in trouble. I took a few hits on the left side from another fighter, but continued to stay with my first target. A few hits from the Gatling and I noticed his least protective right shield was weakened. A flash and jarring motion signaled a blow on the right, but I wanted to finish off the initial Dralthi before his shields had time to regenerate. I hit the afterburners again and came sliding around on his right side, where two quick blasts sent him down.

One of the Dralthi had come up from behind, while the other was circling to approach on my weak side. I ordered Paladin to attack my target, pulled back on the stick, punched the afterburners twice, and looped back to surprise the cat on my tail. With two of us firing, the skirmish was quickly won. The third Dralthi tried to run, but we stayed on his tail and I launched a Javelin that ran right up his exhaust pipe and stopped the retreat. I was jazzed, yelling and screaming, while Paladin remained calm and unfluttered.

"I don't know how this kind of action becomes old hat to anyone," I thought.

Nav points 1 and 2 were clear. We hit a mine field on the way to Nav 3, but without any enemies in the vicinity, we gingerly picked out way through without incident. I thought asteroids were bad, but those gleaming red and silver mines can really do some damage with a direct hit.

Three Salthi showed up about 12,000 kilometers from Nav 4. After giving a Break and Attack command, I blasted to max speed. Damn, those fighters are quick! They seemed to running circles around us, but with their unbelievably weak side shields our mass drivers wreaked havoc. I didn't see how Paladin took out the first one, but I went ahead and took a few shots on my bow as they approached, and then tried to lead them with the rapid fire of the mass driver as they passed to one side. It worked, although my ship was going to show some damage when I returned to the Claw this time.

Maniac, my old nemesis, and the crusty Bossman were in the bar when I returned, discussing the imminent possibility of engaging Kilrathi battleships. Bossman said the only way to take on such powerful ships was to concentrate on the fighter cover first, so you could go after the big ships unhampered. Of course, Maniac had his own ideas, but, as usual, they were just off the cuff and about as useful as a litterbox.

Preflight Conversations


That’s Iceman and Knight over there.
Knight’s a darned reliable pilot, a solid shot, a steady flier.
Not flashy at all. He’s sort of a craftsman. Gets the job done, though.
Iceman, though, now he’s an artist. Best pilot on the Tiger’s Claw.
Lives to fly and to fight. He’s totally ruthless, and completely deadly.
Some of the pilots say he’s got freon for blood… at least, that’s where he got the call sign.

Talk to KNIGHT

Joseph Khumalo
Maverick, right? I’m Knight. Welcome to the Blue Devils.
Ever flown Scimitars before? I think you’re going to like them.
A Scimitar isn’t quite as fast or nimble as a Hornet, but she’s got twice the armour, as well as heavier guns.
Michael Casey
And she handles like a Centaurian mud pig.
Joseph Khumalo
Iceman here’ll try to tell you speed and handling’ll save your butt,
but I’ll take an extra three centimetres of durasteel plating any day!

Talk to ICEMAN

Maverick. They call me Iceman.
Don’t let Knight fool you. The Scim’s a gun-heavy slug.
Forget finesse, just head straight in, guns blaring.
Give me a ship that takes skill.
A Raptor, even a Hornet… or one of those new Rapiers.
If half of what they say is true, the Rapier’s a true artist’s ship!

Mission Briefing

Mission Briefing. McAuliffe System, 06:15 hours, 2654.131. Fifteen minutes into the briefing…

Peter Halcyon
All right, then. Beta wing will be led by Maverick.
Paladin, you’ll be flying on his wing.
James Taggart
An’ I canna tell you ’ow I’m lookin’ forward to it, Colonel.
Peter Halcyon
Right. Since we jumped into the McAuliffe system just a few hours ago, we’re still running preliminary patrols.
Maverick, you’ll be flying a four-point route, checking several potential jump points.
Here’s your flight plan. Just fly to the Nav Points, and make sure they’re clear.
Long-range scanners indicate some sort of debris near Nav 3.
We have reason to believe this might be a Kilrathi minefield, so be especially careful in that area.
Questions? All right, then. Delta wing is Iceman and Angel…
Maverick listens as the Colonel completes the mission assignments.
Peter Halcyon
That’s everyone. Last questions?
No hands are raised.
Peter Halcyon
Good. Let’s get to work. Squadron dismissed.

Mission Debriefing

Mission Debriefing. 10:00 hours, 2654.131.

Flew Well Flew Poorly

Peter Halcyon

Well flown, Maverick.
You handled those fleabags like an old pro.

Peter Halcyon

Ran into a few hairballs, I hear.

Christopher Blair

Yes, sir. The locations were autologged in the flight recorder.

Paladin Survives Paladin Dies Unknown Don't Reach All Nav Points

Christopher Blair

Thanks, sir. Having Paladin on my wing made it easy.

James Taggart

Now laddy, don't brag on me, or the colonel'll start expectin' more from me!

Christopher Blair

You don't have to say that, sir. I shouldn't have let them get Paladin.

Peter Halcyon

It happens, Maverick. It's part of war.

Peter Halcyon

At least you made all the Nav Points.
Your recon will be very useful.

Peter Halcyon

I've already sent out another patrol to check the jump points you missed.

Peter Halcyon
So let's go over the mission report.
Your Kills Zero Kills
Peter Halcyon
You skragged $K Kilrathi, Maverick...
Peter Halcyon
I see no kills for you, Maverick...
Paladin Survives Paladin Dies
Peter Halcyon
And we lost Paladin.
Peter Halcyon
That's all, then. Dismissed.

Next Mission:
Theta Wing (McAuliffe System)