Epsilon Wing (Venice System)

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Epsilon Wing
Date 2654.287
Fighter Rapier
Wingmen Ian St. John
Notes Fly by Exeter-Class Destroyer at Nav 1.
Previous Chi Wing (Kurasawa System)
Tau Wing (Rostov System)
Next Nu Wing (Venice System)

Mission Layout


The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel Carl T. LaFong

The first Terran missions in the Venice system were reconnaissance patrols used to identify Kilrathi ships and their locations. We were hoping to find their starbase, the operations center for the High Command, but realized the chances were against us in the early stages.

Halcyon sent Epsilon Wing, Hunter and me, on a four-point patrol where we would make sure an Exeter was safe before moving into unknown territory. The only thing we knew positively was that scads of debris had been identified in the system. Tactical believed it to be mines, and if it was, the Colonel wanted a full report. Just before departure, Halcyon told us to engage anything up to a Ralari destroyer.

We cruised by Nav 1 and did a flyby on the Exeter without spotting any enemy ships. It was a wondrous sight, but I wished it were taking place under different circumstances. I mentioned it to Hunter as we passed.

We were turning for Nav 2 when he replied. "Stay focused, Ship: Rapier Prankster. We'll be chasing the tails of more Kilrathi than you've ever seen soon enough. This is their last chance, and with High Command in the area it'll be swarming with rabid cats. Stay on your toes now."

I'm not sure whether I saw the mines first or the lights on the radar display. It happened so fast. All of a sudden, I was dodging lasers and claymags.

I targeted the lead Jalthi and locked him in from the keyboard. I told Hunter to attack my current target, then broke down and right and changed my KPS setting to 250. I wanted to make sure Hunter kept a Jalthi busy so I could hit the other.

Concentrate on one target at a time, Bossman had once told me. It was great advice.

I knew I was going to take a shot on the Jalthi's first move, but I waited until he was pretty close and let a Pilum FF fly. Then I darted away with a short afterburner boost and set my guns to full. Somehow I missed hitting a mine during the maneuver.

Rolling right to reduce my profile, I missed with my first burst but scored with the second and third. It didn't seem to faze him. I couldn't slide in a minefield, so I launched another Pilum and tried to keep the Jalthi in my sights. The Pilum hit him pretty hard, but it still took two more direct hits with the full guns to bring him down.

I checked internal damage. It was worse than I'd thought. My weapon was destroyed, although I still had my guns, and the ejector system was slightly damaged. There was no way to tell whether it worked unless I needed it.

Hunter had taken a few hits, but he had scorched the Jalthi a few times as well. I needed to keep the blaster power up, so I switched to neutrons and raced over to help him out. I added my guns and Hunter sent a Spiculum straight into the left engine. I think the pilot ejected, but I knew we'd never find him in all these mines. We reached Nav 2 without leaving the minefields.

"I couldn't believe the size of the minefield," I yelled to Hunter. "There must be a million of those things out there."

"I told you to stay on your toes," he replied.

We hit more mines on the way to Nav 3 and an asteroid field on the way to Nav 4. One mistake I made in the last one almost sucked the air out of the Rapier. The ejector system was completely destroyed, and the computer and communications systems were damaged.

Limping might be a better term for the wing as we continued toward the last navigation point. When the four Krant jumped us, I knew it was big trouble. We tried to hang on, but we just couldn't keep up with the undamaged enemy fighters. Knowing my eject system was out, I screamed to Hunter to form on my wing. Then I accessed the nav map and selected the Tiger's Claw.

I was afraid the afterburners would melt the tubes. It might have been the longest continuous burn ever attempted in a Rapier, but the ships somehow held together. Hunter and I made it to the carrier and passed our data discs along to tactical ops before we raced to meet Halcyon.

Halcyon was glad to see that we'd made it back in one piece with our flight recorders. The mapping of Kilrathi minefields could begin. He wasn't pleased, however, that we had missed the last nav point on the patrol.

Preflight Conversations


So, Maverick, here we are in the Venice System, in the heart of Kilrathi space.
Course, the hairballs have their own name for it ... Kharak Tar, I think.
Its habitable planet is a water world, like Port Hedland's.
We call it Venice 'cause of ancient ruins on it, sinkin' into the ocean.
But the Killie-cats aren't supposed to like the water...
...so they put their base in the system in an orbital station.
Tactical thinks if we find that station and take it out...
...we'll take out the brains of the Kilrathi operations in the whole sector!

Talk to HUNTER

Maverick, mate I understand we'll be flyin' together for a while.
Colonel's just moved me over to Black Lion squadron and Rapier fighters.
I can't wait to get out in one of these new Rapiers, mate!
As I recall, she's got both lasers and neutron guns, right?
The lasers were designed for firin' at a distance...
...an' the neutron guns for extra punch up close!


Och, laddy, glad to 'ear that Khajja bloke was done in.
I 'ad a run in with Khajja a while back.
'E's the coldest furball I've ever seen!
I was flyin' with Dragon, out of Yellowjacket squadron...
We ran into Khajja the Fang while we were flyin' watchdog on a tanker.
We shot 'is wingmen to bits, and put 'is own shields and lasers out...
...but still 'e keeps comin'
We're tight on is tail, but 'e holds 'iscourse and fires off a missile.
One shot, right up the tanker's tailpipe, and she blows, big as day!
An' while Dragon an' me are dodgin' 'er debris...
...the hairy bastard makes 'is escape!

Mission Briefing

Mission Briefing. Venice System, 06:00 hours, 2654.286.

Peter Halcyon
All right, boys and girls. Welcome to Venice.
Confederate Sector Command believes this system is vital to the Kilrathi.
Some intelligence reports indicate that Kilrathi High Command...
...may be located in a starbase somewhere in this system.
If that is the case, we need to find it as quickly as possible.
We'll immediately commence an intensive schedule of recon patrols...
...to identify all vessels and large objects in the system.
The commander quickly assigns four wings to patrol missions.

Yours is the fifth assignment.

Maverick, you'll lead Epsilon Wing.I'm putting Hunter with you.
Ian St. John
Glad to be on your wing, mate!
Peter Halcyon
Here's your route, gentlemen.
Computer, display Epsilon.
You'll fly a four-point patrol.
At the first Nav Point, you'll fly by one of our own Exeters.
From there on out, though, you'll be in unknown territory.
Now there's a lot of debris floating around out there...
...and we believe that a lot of it is going to be Kilrathi mines.
You'll be flying near debris at Navs 1, 2, and 3, so be careful.
And I want a report on the locations of any mine fields you encounter.
Any questions, Maverick? Hunter?
Christopher Blair
What kind of enemy ships do you expect us to encounter?
Peter Halcyon
Since this is a major Kilrathi base system, we expect a strong enemy presence.
You could meet almost anything out there.
Ian St. John
When we spot them, Colonel, do we mix it up?
Peter Halcyon
Maverick'll have to make that call...
...but I'd recommend engaging anything up to a Ralari.
Now, if there aren't any questions...
All right, then. Squadron dismissed.

Mission Debriefing

Mission Debriefing. 15:00 hours, 2654.286.

Peter Halcyon
Welcome back, Maverick. Did you hit all your Nav Points?
Christopher Blair
Yes, sir, all four.
Peter Halcyon
Run into anything unsual out there?
Ian St. John
Nothin' we couldn't 'andle, colonel.
Christopher Blair
Met Khajja the Fang out near Nav 4, flying escort for a Ralari.
Peter Halcyon
Oh? I'd heard he was in the system. How'd you do against him?
Christopher Blair
Nailed him, sir. Got the Ralari, too.
Peter Halcyon
Good job! That's one less furball battleship for us to choke on!
Excellent job! Congratulations, Maverick.
All right, then, let's go over the numbers...
You skragged 7 of the Kilrathi fighters, Maverick...
and Hunter did in 5 himself.