Psi Wing (McAuliffe System)

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Psi Wing
Date 2654.132.0600
Fighter Scimitar
Wingmen James Taggart
Other Friendly Ships Drayman at Nav 1
Medal Silver Star
Objectives Proceed to jump point to rendezvous

Escort the Drayman-Class tanker back to the Tiger's Claw

Previous Theta Wing (McAuliffe System)
Next Zeta Wing (Gimle System) (Win Series)
Alpha Wing (Brimstone System) (Lose Series)

Mission Layout

The Memoirs of Lieutenant Colonel Carl T. LaFong

While the Tiger's Claw is scheduled to jump out of McAuliffe System tomorrow, the battle here will continue and additional Confederation sports and tankers are arriving hourly. A Kilrathi carrier has been spotted, and we expect heavy resistance as we escort the larger ships to their appropriate positions. The worst news is that Bhurak Starkiller, the Kilrathi's leading ace, with 64 kills recorded, is known to be patrolling the area. This is one instance where I hope the intelligence analysts have missed their mark.

Paladin doesn't share my wish for a scenic mission. Years ago, Paladin had Bhurak in his sights but was forced to eject when another Salthi destroyed his ion drive and computer systems. Paladin survived and won the Golden Sun, but his wingman never returned.

"He passed so close when I was floating in space I could almost reach out and grab a whisker," Paladin recalled. "He'd just taken out my wingman and was grinning like a Chesire. That's what I'll never forget...that demonic grin. I was sure he would turn and send me to meet my maker, but a wing of Hornets chased him away. I dream of meeting him again. Just once. That's all it would take, just once."

As Psi Wing, Paladin and I would be escorting a Drayman back to the carrier. It sounded like the easiest mission so far. It might have been, except for the two wings (two fighters in each) of Krant that showed up before we even reached Nav 1. I directed Paladin to attack my target, slapped the throttle to full, and headed straight for the nearest enemy ship. As soon as I saw the Krant fire, I shifted about 30 degrees to the right and hoped the afterburners were ready. The extra power put me into a controlled slide and I opened fire with the Gatling. He swept by and I rolled and turned so I could follow the exhaust. A few seconds later, he was history.

With the same tactic, I took out a second Krant and turned to look for the third. He was crossing directly in front of me, so I led him by about two Salthi-lengths and cut loose a Dart DF that caught him amidships and sent him to the great catnip garden in the sky. We'd almost reached the Drayman by now, so I didn't bother to chase the fourth Krant which was hightailing it in the opposite direction.

The dogfighting had led us close to Nav 1, where the Drayman waited for her escorts. Knowing she would travel at top speed, I throttled back to 150 KPS and took position behind and to one side of the sport.

We hit the Salthi soon after meeting the[Drayman. Bhurak Starkiller was the closest attacker, and I went after him, telling Paladin to attack the same target. Man, that cat can really fly. I was hoping the two of us could take him out quickly, but he seemed to anticipate every move we made. Before I knew it, Bhurak had led us away from the sport and the Drayman was under attack by his companions. I knew Paladin had a score to settle, but I ordered him back into formation and we raced back to take on the two remaining Salthi.

With a maximum velocity of 480 KPS and outstanding acceleration, the light Kilrathi fighters can run circles around our Scimitars. In the hands of an experienced pilot like Bhurak the weak armor isn't a disadvantage. I told one of the Salthi pilots, "Bite it, cat-face!" and he responded immediately by turning to attack us. By the time I attempted to bait the other pilot, it was too late for the Drayman. The fireball was enormous.

I was stunned, hurt, shocked, and angry. I couldn't believe I'd let myself be taken in by Bhurak's tactics. The Drayman had carried a crew of 24 and vital supplies for the Confederation effort. Tears rolled down my cheeks, my heart pounded, and for the first time I realized the responsibility that comes with being a Confederation pilot. It was a responsibility I had failed.

When we returned to the Claw, I discovered that dozens of scientists at the Terran Research Colony on McAuliffe had been murdered by the Kilrathi. I usually like to stop and swab tales in the bar following a mission, but the only reason to hit the bar this time would be to drown my sorrows. I headed for the bunk to try and get some sleep. After what I had just experienced, I knew sleep wouldn't come easy.

Next Section: Between Missions (McAuliffe-Gateway Systems)

Preflight Conversations


Hey there, Maverick. Get you somethin’?
I’m glad to see you and Paladin gettin’ along so well.
He’ll be retirin’ soon, you know?
Been flyin’ fighters for twenty-odd years, and now they’re puttin’ him out to pasture.
He and I used to fly together back before the war started.
Darn good man, the old Claw’ll miss him.


Chen Kien
Maverick, sit down. I want to compare notes with you.
I’ve been watching the way Dralthi maneuver, and I think I’ve noticed something.
Seems to me that when you’re hot on a Dralthi’s tail, and he pulls a loop to shake you,
he always goes up or down, never to the side. Ever notice that?
Maverick shrugs in tentative agreement.
Chen Kien
Well, they do… always up or down, never left or right.
James Taggart
Y’know, lad, I believe you’re right.
Chen Kien
I think it’s because those big wings block their vision to the sides,
but above and below – between the wings – their vision is clear.


I’d like ta tell ya, laddie, s’been good flyin’ with you.
We’ll be pullin’ outta McAuliffe soon, an’ the Colonel likes to shake up the wings every now an’ then.
So let me give you one last piece of advice, a young wingman ain’t goin’ ta stick by you the way I have, lad.
That’s no criticism of ’em, lad, just a fact.
A youngster’s got a name to make and a career to think on, ’e’ll be lookin’ to make a hero of ’imself.
An old man like meself, on the other hand…
well, I’m just wantin’ to make it back so I can retire in one piece.

Mission Briefing

Mission Briefing. McAuliffe System, 06:00 hours, 2654.132.

Peter Halcyon
We’ll be leaving McAuliffe late tomorrow, but first, we’ve got a half-dozen ’sports and tankers coming in.
With at least one Kilrathi carrier in the system, we’re expecting the hairballs to make a play for most of the ’sports.
Here are the assignments for transport escorts…
The Colonel makes the assignments for the wings. You draw the final run…
Peter Halcyon
Maverick and Paladin will take the last detail. Computer, display Psi.
You’ll rendezvous with a Drayman-class tanker here, at Nav 1.
As soon as it arrives, the tanker will head for the Tiger’s Claw.
It’ll be moving at top speed, and won’t deviate from its shortest course.
So you’ll have to protect it from any attackers.
Stay close, don’t let enemy fighters draw you away from the tanker.
Now, one more thing, boys and girls. Intelligence indicates Bhurak Starkiller may be in the system.
Jeannette Devereaux
Bhurak Starkiller, sir?
Peter Halcyon
He’s one of Kilrah’s best, flies a Salthi light fighter.
Our records credit him with 64 kills, counting fighters and battleships.
So let’s all be extra careful out there, all right? Squadron dismissed.

Mission Debriefing

Mission Debriefing. 10:00 hours, 2654.131.

Peter Halcyon
Well done, gentlemen. The tanker commander asked me to commend you both.
And my personal congratulations for dispatching Bhurak Starkiller.
Christopher Blair
I’m just glad to get that ’sport back to the Claw, sir.
James Taggart
Now, don’t go discountin’ the fun in givin’ the hairballs a black eye, lad.
Peter Halcyon
Enough of that, though. Let’s review the mission.
You racked up 7 Kilrathi, Maverick, and Paladin came up empty.
And you shot down Bhurak Starkiller.
Everything else aside, Maverick, that was excellent work.
And I want to see you in my office later, Maverick. Dismissed.

Colonel Halcyon’s Office. 16:50 hours, 2654.132.

Peter Halcyon
Blair. Come in. I need to speak with you.
Christopher Blair
Yes, sir?
Peter Halcyon
I’ve been speaking with sector command.
The brass have been reviewing your record, and I have good news.
The order came in this morning, I’ve been authorised to promote you.
Congratulations, Captain Blair. Keep up the good work.
Christopher Blair
Thank you, sir. I’ll do my best.
Peter Halcyon
Glad to hear it. We’ll be leaving McAuliffe soon, and I need to make some personnel changes.
Effective immediately following the jump, you’ll be reassigned.
I need you in Star Slayer Squadron, flying a Raptor-class heavy fighter.
Christopher Blair
Yes, sir. You won’t be sorry.
Peter Halcyon
Good. I’m glad to hear it.
That’s all, then, Captain. Dismissed.

Hangar Deck. 17:00 hours, 2654.132.

Peter Halcyon
For meritorious conduct in confronting the Kilrathi enemy, in the McAuliffe system,
on or about 2654.132, the Terran Confederation is proud to present the Silver Star to Captain Blair.
Your courage is exemplary of the Confederation’s finest defenders.
Good job, Maverick. Congratulations.
Christopher Blair
Thank you, sir.

Filled with pride, Maverick meets the applause of his fellows.

Win / Lose Series



Terran Research Colony, McAuliffe VI.

Kilrathi marines invading McAuliffe’s civilian research installation, met desperate and resourceful Human scientists.
Armed with improvised weapons and remarkable courage, the researchers manage to kill or capture the entire Kilrathi platoon.

Next Mission: Zeta Wing (Gimle System)


Terran Research Colony, McAuliffe VI.

As the Tiger’s Claw and other Terran warships meet defeat in space, Kilrathi marines invade the scientific colony on McAuliffe VI.
Dozens of humanity’s most brilliant scientists are murdered as the ruthless Kilrathi storm the peaceful, harmless installation.

Next Mission: Alpha Wing (Brimstone System)