And There We Lay Doggo
Farewell and Adieu - And There We Lay Doggo
Summary: The strike team aboard TCS Meriwether Lewis intercepts a Kilrathi admiral's shuttle.
Date: 2658.157
Related Logs: Farewell and Adieu - Briefing, For We've Received Orders, Like Little Tin Turtles

It's been a long few days of slipping into Kilrathi space, evading Kilrathi patrols… making the final, tense jump into Palan and quickly hiding among the system's asteroid fields. Still the readout on sensors is the part that makes it worth it… a Kilrathi shuttle ascending from the system's lone planet with a pair of escorts, heading to meet a Fralthi that's just jumped in from Xytani. For the moment, the Kilrathi seem entirely unaware that death waits along their line of travel, in the form of six fighters and a light warship nestled among the rocks.

« Steady, everyone. Let them get good and clear of the planet before we make our move » Cole orders his pilots. « Last thing we want is to have the local defense squadrons adding to the mess. »

Kanani flys along in her Stiletto staying in formation and tensly watching the scanners, as she waits for an opening. «Copy that, Voodoo. That would make things a lot more difficult.» She responds, and however tense she might be, her voice is still calm and businesslike.

Razor can't help but admit there there is a dose of anxious anticipation and fear added to this mission. Not only is it a covert ops type but their target is the head honcho as well, something the young Lieutenant has never experienced before. When the shuttle pops up on the sensors, it only adds to the tension. «Understood, lead. Intel is positive on this right? The big cat /will/ be on that shuttle?» Question is probably asked too late but it's more an idle rhetorical question than anything else.

On-edge and nervous throughout most of the flight, Alec is no different now; palms sweaty, breath held, heart in mouth. He follows the contacts on his screens, not daring to take his eyes off the range indicators, ears straining to catch the go command, hand poised on the throttle. The transmissions make him curse to himself; two thouhts he hadn't even considered. «If - if he's not, no way to know,» he replies.

« Tell you what, Razor » Cole comments with a little grin under his helmet, slouched in the seat of his broadsword. « If we get the wrong shuttle, we'll fly back out here next week and deliver an apology » he jokes. « Besides, Razor. You'll learn eventually that Intel is never /certain/ of anything. It's the wild ass guess division of the Navy. »

«Ain't that the truth?» Kanani adds with a chuckle. «I've lost track of the amount of times my Dad would tell stories that involved a lot of complaining about Intel.» She remarks, and grins, even as her eyes are still on her scanners and the area around where the ships are flying.

Smirking and amused by the answers, Razor can only answer with a somewhat resigned voice, «I was afraid of that, was hoping that Intel would say 'We are one-hundred percent sure' for once. I guess we can all dream, eh?» He then falls silent once more as he keeps silent once more, trying to tweak his sensors to pick up anything extra besides the Shuttle and its twin escorts.

Alec snorts at the jokes. «You think maybe they'd accept a note instead?» he asks. «A fruit-basket even. Good place to visit, bad place to live, Palan. Anyway, ready on your go, Lead.» He flicks some switches, ostensibly narrowing sensor focus but mainly just for something seemingly proactive to do.

« Careful, Voodoo. Keep talking and I might forget you when I jump out » Comes over the communication from the bridge of the Meriwether Lewis, where a tense James Nucefora stands in front of his command chair.
"Enemy will be at the intercept point in thirty seconds, sir" A terribly young sounding voice reports from somewhere out of the field of view."Thank you, Spacehand. Stand by to engage maximum thrust on my mark. Make straight for that Fralthi" Nucefora replies, before looking back up and speaking directly into the screen again. « Looks like it's time to earn our pay »

« They pay you for this commander? » Cole replies with mock incredulity, before speaking a little more seriously to the wing. « All craft, stand by for Commander Nucefora's order. Beagle, we're gunning straight for that Fralthi with the Lewis. Razor and Tsumani, you've got the shuttle and close escorts. Rapiers, keep that Fralthi's CAP entertained before they can get into the battle. ». With that, he clicks his comms back off and slouches a little further in his seat.

«Lead, Tsunami. Got it.» Is all that Kanani responds with to the orders, as she prepares her fighter to move into combat once the order is given. A quick look is given to the surrounding space one last time, just to make sure there's nothing out of place.

When the final orders come through, Razor shoots his acknowledgement thorugh the comms, «Understood, Voodoo. Tsunami, I've got some kittens painted on the three Heat Seekers racked onto my hardpoints, I think it's the right thing to do to return them to their owners.» His hand now grips the throttle lever, ready to jam it forward for full speed once the orders to engage is given.

«Joy. You get me into all the cool scenes, Voodoo. Cans of catfood, ready for the bowl.» Mentally projecting a course to avoid errant microasteroids, Alec's Broadsword slowly orients itself towards the intercept point, torpedo-based death hanging from its' wings.

« Three. Two. One. Mark. » Nucefora transmits simply, and just like that, the Lewis begins to slide forward from the asteroids towards the Fralthi. The Cruiser's sensors pick it up a moment later, and it quickly begins to accelerate in, heading straight in for the terran corvette. Unalerted for the moment, and lacking the sensor capability to spot the craft on their own, the the shuttle and its escorts continue on course

Onboard his Broadsword, Cole orders simply « Let's get to it » as he jams the throttles forward to the stops and begins to join the slow-motion charge towards that Fralthi. He's never been the religious sort, but this occasion at least seems to call for that time-honored test pilot's prayer to be muttered under his breath. "Dear lord. Please don't let me fuck up."

«Roger, lead. Surf's up.» Kanani states as her Stiletto rolls on course towards the shuttle and it's escorts, determination on her face to get the job done.

«Engines lit, going hot!» Razor comms in as he jams the throttle of his Stiletto forward, applying full power to the triple engines on his fighter. The glow from the exhaust is immediate and the light fighter shoots out of the asteroid field towards the shuttle and escorts, «Razor here, Tsunami, kicking afterburners to full too. Let's see if we can get lucky enough to catch them with their pants down if we hit them fast enough.»

"Pages of history, here we come," Alec comments grimly, throttling up and forming up behind Cole's Broadsword. «Roger that.»

The range between the combatants continues to close, the Kilrathi shuttle finally either spotting the terran ships or getting word passed along… a flare of afterburners showing at the rear of the craft as both its escorts peel away to engage the incoming Stiletto fighters. « You cannot defeat the Drakhai! » A Kilrathi voice calls shrilly over comms to the terran pilots.

Cole's hastily-repaired Broadsword lumbers its way along towards the cruiser, angling straight for the flight deck… keeping to his usual tactic of coming straight in, almost like making a landing approach.. hoping the Kilrathi gunners will be too occupied with the Lewis.

Kanani moves in on the Kilrathi shuttle, hoping that anyone shooting at her, aren't having a lucky day today. Pulling in on the ships tail she switches to her missiles, and pulls the trigger. «Fox two. Lets hope this does some damage.»

The afterburner didn't give the Stilettos enough speed to provide a surprise attack and with Razor speeding in front, the two nasty looking Hhriss Kilrathi Heavy Fighters begin painting him with missile lucks, "Shit, looks like the pair of kitties are hitting me with IRs, going evasive.»
With a quick wild burst of Mass Driver Cannons shot out at the Kilrathi shuttle, the Lieutenant immediately yanks his flight stick hard right and goes into a series of tight barrel rolls. He knows that IRs are incredible hard to shake and only last second maneuvers may save him as the two missiles trail right towards the Stiletto.

Flying behind and to the left of Cole's flying crate, Alec can barely take his eyes off the giant carrier - except to flick a glance at that ridiculous pink statue, and make a hasty silent prayer. "Should've made a bet for the killshot," he realises, rather too late. "Could've gotten good odds…"

Three torpedoes slam into the Fralthi, tearing ugly rents into its hull… but the Kilrathi warship holds together. Its flak batteries swivel towards the Confederation bombers, beginning to fill the space around them with deadly bursts of energy.
The Admiral's shuttle is similarly rocked, a heat seeker slamming into the rear of the craft, actually knocking it in a lazy cartwheel before its pilot recovers control and brings it around towards the Fralthi once more, running for safety as fast as its damaged structure will support.
The Kilrathi escorts split off, one moving in for each Confederation light fighter, eager to keep them away from the admiral's shuttlecraft.

« Good shooting, Beagle » Cole reports. « But the bitch is still standing. Come around for another go, and let's finish this. » he orders simply, his own bomber swinging around through the firestorm directed its way, settling in for another straight run in at the front of the Kilrathi vessel.

When Razor's wingman's missile slams into the shuttle with a brilliant explosion, he cheers on the rules, «Nice shot there, Tsunami!» The two Image Recognition missiles also fly harmlessly by the Stiletto, last minute jink shaking the first and then a very tight half looping climb manages to shed the second.
Beads of perspiration is already rolling down Kell's right temple as he swings in for another pass, snapping off another quick burst of Mass Driver fire at the ailing shuttle while trying to dodge the second missile fired at him. «Watch your six, Tsunami, missile on your tail.»

"Yes! Yes, oh thank god!" Alec's relief at landing a solid hit on the Fralthi's flight deck almost overwhelms him, as the fatalistic (and likely unrealistic) image of a boiling wavefront of fighters swarming over the Yamamoto strike team is dispelled. «Understood, Voodoo,» he replies. «One more, straight into the mouth!»

«It was a nice one, but not good enough. Lets finish him off fast.» Kanani remarks, staying all business like despite the nice shot. «I see it. Hopefully I can avoid him, though.» As she stays on the damaged shuttles tail she pulls the trigger again, and sends another missile screaming towards the Kitty Admiral.

A scattering of mass driver shots clip the Kilrathi shuttle, but they're apparently enough to do the job… sending the craft spinning off into space, venting atmosphere. It's not all good news, however, as a missile slame into Draygo's fighter, all but tearing the nose off of the craft just forward of the cockpit. Three more torpedoes impact on the Fralthi, though somehow it manages to hold together.

« Not our day, is it Beagle? » Cole grumbles into his communications as the Fralthi survives another round of impacts. Still, with his craft for once undamaged, Cole seems happy to swing his bomber in for another of those aggressive passes at the Kilrathi cruiser. Staying undamaged, apparently, isn't a consideration for him today.

What happens to the shuttle isn't scene by Razor as the third Image Recognition missile that was chasing after him manages to do a last second course correction and intercepts the Stiletto perfectly. The projectile meets up and slams into the front of the Terran Confed Fighter, exploding and ripping off the Stiletto's nose.
Inside, alarms begin scream at Kell with multiple red lights telling him systems are damaged or destroyed. The radar ends up crackling out and Razor is virtually blind, forcing him to fly old school by sight. While staying evasive, pushing his once nimble fighter into sluggish evasive maneuvers, the pilot tries a last ditch effort to cycle a repair. But the news is bad as the modules are apparently destroyed, unrepairable.

Kanani grimaces as one of the missiles catches her ship, but fortunately the damage isn't that bad. As the shuttle spins off dead into space, she turns her fighter towards the Hhriss that hit her, and prepars to launch her final missile at it, once she gets on it's tail. «That looked like a nasty shot Razor, you alright?» She asks to her squadmate, deciding now isn't the time to comment on his shot on the shuttle.

Alec's elation at another direct hit is tempered by Draygo's damage report. One Stiletto damaged, the other alone, and who knows what tricks the Drakhai have… «Uh, roger that, Voodoo.» He swallows. It's a little awkward to say in the middle of a combat situation, but he says it anyway. «If… If you want to help out against the fighters, I think me and the Meriwether can wrap this up.»

Three more torpedoes slam into the Kilrathi cruiser, the craft's destruction simply turning into a race between the fires raging out of control near the reactor and the unnatural twisting and buckling of the hull. The hull gives first, the craft breaking into a handful of chunks as the fires burn away for lack of oxygen, leaving a charred husk folating in space.
The Kilrathi certainly get their hits in as well, one of the covering Rapier-class fighters detonating as it's overwhelmed by the dead cruiser's escorts. More shots tear into the front of Draygo's fighter, stopped by the remaining twisted mass of wreckage from reaching more vital spots.

Cole grins under his helmet, banking his broadsword away from the wreckage of the Fralthi and turning towards the dogfight. « Moving to give you a hand Razor, Tsunami » Cole reports, snapping off a missile into the fight at extreme range. « Where's that damned shuttle? » Someone hasn't realized it's dead yet.

«Gone to that kitty graveyard in the sky, Voodoo. Just got these fighters left to deal with, now.» Kanani adds with a chuckle, despite her ship having taken another hit from the enemy fighter. She switches her weapons to guns, and then tries to pay back the fuzzy wuzzy for the damage to her ship.

After going through a scissor maneuver with the grace of a pregnant hippo, Razor was lucky enough to see Tsunami's Stiletto in front of him and he quickly kicks a burst of afterburner and begins to close in on her fighter, only to be rocked by a barrage of Mass Driver and Neutron fire, the nose shearing completely off, «Razor here… not doing good Tsunami. My nose is gone and I'm blind, sensors shot. I have a cat on my somewhere and I can't see him, I'll fly your wing though and use you as a pointer.» There is a pause as he hears the bombers coming to assist, «No clue Voodoo, last I saw, Tsunami gave it a wallop, I hope it didn't escape and exploded instead.»

The damn thing seemed worryingly invincible, but the mighty Fralthi finally rolls over and dies, to much jubilation in the cockpit of Alec's Broadsword. "HaHA!" he cries, as the likely success of the mission becomes common knowledge. Trying to settle down his emotional rollercoaster, he sights a Kilrathi fighter and lets fly. «Magic torpedo, Voodoo!» he transmits, semi-coherently. «And - Fox three!»

The addition of the broadswords to the fight doesn't accomplish a whole lot. One missile flies wide, the other slams into the Hhriss' thick hide for no visible effect. More fire walks into the two Stilettos, tearing chunks of durasteel from the light fighters… though they somehow hold together. The second of the escort rapiers explodes, having lost its battle against the Kilrathi CAP… but they've done their job of distracting the Kilrathi long enough for the strike team to do its work.
Left as the biggest thing in local space, the Lewis quickly begins to establish its authority, turning into the fight as the laser batteries mounted aft of the cockpit begin to scatter a steady stream of high-powered laser bolts into space. Caught off guard, both Hhriss are struck… one destroyed outright, the second left spinning helpless as Kanani's guns tear into the body and finish it off.

« Goddamn! » Cole comments, perhaps having been a little uncomfortably close to the source of that torrent of laser fire for his comfort. « Voodoo shows scopes clear. No hits. For once. Confirm and report damage. »

Kanani checks her systems for damage, before replying. «Tsunami here. Decent amount of damage to my armor and some to the hull, but doesn't seem like it's anything critical.» She then checks her own sensors, just to doublecheck for enemies. «Copy that, lead. I don't see anything out here either. Guess we should probably pack up and leave before that changes.» She finishes with a chuckle.

As if it was possible, more alarms go off in Kell's cockpit as more systems light up as red, the weapons this time. The targeting computer wonks out and on the exterior, one of Razor's Mass Driver cannons takes a direct hit, turning it into slag, leaving him only one cannon to fire. «Razor here, more red lights on my instrument panel, targeting system malfunctioning and one cannon unresponsive.» There seems to be a little worry creeping into the young pilot's voice for once but hearing Cole's update, the Lieutenant gives a sigh of relief, «Thank you cavalry. With Tsunami bagging the big cat, let's get our tails back to Terran space. Kilrathi aren't much on the hospitalty side.»

Alec stares at the sight of the two fighters from the 221st, both still barely flying amidst a cloud of debris - and cheers as the Lewis makes it very clear who's boss. «Ahaha! Look at that!» he transmits, seemingly high on the post-victory rush. Belatedly realising he's yelling over comms and that there was a request, he sheepishly calms down a little. «Uh - heh, no contacts, Voodoo! Damage report a-ok! Shinwarping out of here sounds good!»

« Nucefora to wing. Get your asses back onboard, this place is going to be a mighty crowded litterbox in a few minutes » Nucefora orders the group simply, the Lewis already turning for the jump. « And getting out is going to be the hard part »

« Yeah, Razor? Your front end pretty much isn't. Not so sure I'm going to be able to fix that one » Cole admits with a little chuckle, as his broadsword turns back for the Lewis. « Copy that, Meriwether Lewis. Pilots, you heard the man. Time to head for home »

«Roger that, Lead, ready to land. And just for the record, Razor. You were the one that finished of the shuttle.» Kanani states as her Stiletto heads quickly back towards the Lewis, and gets ready to set down in it's docking space.

It was as bad as Kell had assumed as someone from the outside gives him an update on the condition of his fighter, «That's what I was afraid of, I get the feeling the Deck Chief is gonna space me out of an airlock when I'm asleep.» Weiss is definitely not going to be one happy, German camper. «Understood, control. Will be following Tsunami in for an approach pattern.» Since he is flying blind, the best that Razor can do is to follow Kanani so that he can close in on the Corvette before lining up with one of the modified fighter racks, attempting to land it manually.

«Hang in there, man! We got you covered!» Alec brings his Broadsword to follow Kell's flying wreck, letting the man take the time he needs. No sense risking that now… after all, he thought, they might just live through it all. They might just live through it… the mental picture of the Majestic's lounge seemed like a personal Valhalla.

Cole's bomber moves back to the Lewis, lazily circling as he waits for the other craft to make their approaches. « Beagle, once the Stilettos are down, it'll be your turn » Cole orders, his attention focused on his radar for further signs of trouble. « I'll stay out until the rest of you are securely on the deck. »

Kanani doesn't waste much time once everything is lined up, and her fighter settles into its spot on the Lewis with a loud clang. She hits the comms and states. «Tsunami here. I'm down, and signing out.» As she starts to power down the fighters systems.

Razor takes a little bit longer as he lines up his Stiletto to the rack next to Kanani's Stiletto, there is a rough vibration as metal grinds against metal, the docking not perfect but still good enough where the sorry excuse of a light fighter is secured to the hull. «Razor docked and signing out.» With that, he goes through the power down sequence as well.

Likewise, once Kell's safely down, Alec executes a reasonably graceful landing on the moving Meriwether Lewis. «I think I'm getting the hang of this,» he comments, the grin on his face practically audible. «The Beagle has landed, shutting down. See you inside for drinks, sir.»

Cole makes one last circuit of the corvette before he swings his bomber in towards its home against the hull, where it settles with a little thunk a moment later. « Alright Lewis, we're all down » Cole reports. « Let's get the hell out of here » And with that, he's unstrapping himself from his seat and moving for the hatch.

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