Charlie-Foxtrot in Junction
Charlie-Foxtrot in Junction
Summary: After being checked out on their new Rapiers, the 1087th Squadron launches to assist the TCS Michel Ney and the TCS Francis Drake against the two Fralthis from days before, unfortunately not all flowers are roses.
Date: 2658.135
Related Logs: All Happening in the Med Bay and BONSAIS IN SPACE
Players:
Phillip..Paz..Trey..Jenthson..Veritas..

Port Launch Tubes
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2321 Hours 2658.135


Part catapult and part airlock, the launch tubes of the Bengal-class allow for rapid deployment of its fighter wing. Eight tubes are set along the port side of the ship, virtually identical in construction. Each is kept closed to space by a heavy door at the far end of the tube, with the inside end porting a similar portal. The blue-green track of a tractor beam emitter is visible along the floor of the tube, used to fling a spacecraft within out into space. Set along the walls to both sides are narrow catwalks for maintenance or emergency usage.


In the launchers sit several Rapiers, gleaming with a shine that only new fighters could know. The silence is quickly broken by the usual launch requests. Focusing inside one of the Rapiers, a pilot sits in a leather chair, relatively closed in by a set of consoles. The cockpit itself seems to have been quite clearly inspired by the earlier design of the Hornet. Large MFD screens are provided to each side, with the controls in small banks underneath. The radar display sits off center to the left, with the ship's damage indicator in a matching location on the right, providing the pilot a good view of his complete tactical situation without having to move his head. An indicator dangling down from the roof provides both fuel and weapons charge displays. Visibility is good to all sides, but the supporting struts seem thicker than in many confederation models.

The only sound inside the launch tubes and the Rapier is the low hum of the Rapiers engines as the Rapiers sit waiting for launch procedures. The near silence is then suddenly broken as the pilot, Lt. Phillip "Iceblade" Bradford comms into Majestic launch control, "Control, this is Iceblade. Need clearance to launch."

Soon heard from the speakers inside the cockpit is Tizona in the other Rapier, «Control, Tizona, request immediate launch clearance.» Seconds later a second comm is heard, this time from the Majestic. «Iceblade, Tizona. This is Majestic Control. You are cleared for launch. Good hunting.»

Tizona's Rapier then seen shooting past as it launches from the Majestic only to be followed seconds later by Iceblade's own Rapier. As it shoots out, the young Lt. is seen being shoved back into his seat.

Shortly after launching a third Rapier is ready for launch. Trey's voice is heard over the comm system, «Control, this is Sloppy, requesting clearance for immediate launch.» Immediately after is heard «Sloppy, this is Majestic Control. You are cleared for launch.»

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Distant Space
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 2324 Hours 2658.135


Centrally located within the Humboldt quadrant, Troy system is a desirable piece of real estate for any number of reasons. Two mining bases are situated on small planetoids, with the system's one naturally habitable planet being the lush agricultural world of Helen. Five separate jump nodes lead from the system, which is notably clear of rocks or other space debris.


As the Rapiers begin moving into formation, Iceblade comms, "Tiz, glad to see you. Been one hell of the morning," referring to the earlier rescue mission. Tizona gives a quick response, «Eh…glad to be seen?»

«Butcher Lead to Butcher flight. Pip, here. Form up, and set course for Nav1.» Pip's crisp tones fill the flight's designated tac-net, and from within the confines of his new, unfamiliar cockpit, he begins to outline their mission. «Apologies for the lack of a proper briefing, but we've got to move quickly. TCS Michel Ney, and TCS Sir Francis Drake have made contact with a pair of Fralthi-class cruisers, and we're providing fighter cover.» His Rapier's engines flare, and Lady Jane Grey's speed increases to maximum cruise, correcting course for the coordinates that he has just transmitted to the Minuteman squadron. «We're faster than we used to be. Let's make use of it. Pigswords have been designated to follow-on, but we need to meet the Exeters -now-. All pilots report status.»»

«One Zero Eight Seven Foxtrot Sigma Stroke Six reports green across the board.» Trey's ship zips across the void of space at speeds normally reserved for the suicidal or the insane. The jury is still out on Trey's status among them. «I've… never been in a ship with plastic on the seats before. Was I supposed to take that off?» He slips into formation, though not with his usual practiced grace. He overshoots. And then his correction overshoots, too. He is clearly not used to this. «I'm almost afraid to hit the afterburners.»

«Lead, Tizona, copy that, setting course for Nav1.» Paz calls, shifting around in the unfamiliar cockpit of her new Rapier. "Damn….I gotta get Wiess to adjust the seat on this thing..I feel like I'm flying lying down." she grumbles.

«Lead, Iceblade here. I'm in top form and feeling good. These new fighters feel great. Moving into position now.» Iceblade broadcasts as he pulls his
fighter in formation with the other Rapiers overshooting by only a small margin compared to the others given Ice's past experience with the Hornet. He then looks down as his panels to complete a second diagnostic on each missile.

«Lead, Kitten, All light green and falling in» His fighter hangs back to the rear guard position, keeping in formation with the others. «Tizona even from here that bird of yours has a rather nice ass.»

«Careful, Kitten, I might just report you to Doc Raine.» Paz teases, then swears softly as an unintended prod on a thruster pedal pushes her ship out slightly off course. «God damn….touchy little buggers, these.»

«Keep in mind…we've got pigswords en route, so it is fair to assume that the Kilrathi have their own bombers heading in. Neither Exeter reported contact with anything beyond Dralthi, though.» A slight adjustment is made, as the Major finds his craft is drifting a bit off-course…..«They sure as hell are, Tizona. All these bloody buttons, and gadgets…I feel like I''m trying to operate my nephew's music player.» He clearly misses the Scimitar's simplicity. «Let's keep track of our warheads, don't waste them all on things that can't scratch the caps.» A breath is taken, before the Englishman adds…«Iceblade? Uh…what the hell does that even mean, rook?»

«PC Load Letter?» mutters Trey as he mentally grapples with his ship. «What the fuck does THAT mean?» He manages to stay in formation, though it's a loose one. «I know, right? This is totally screwed up. We can make ships like this now?» Anyone looking at the pilot himself will see him eyeing the dash as if it just told him who was buried in Grant's Tomb and it wasn't Grant. As usual, he's fine with diving into the meat grinder. It's the little things that get on his nerves.

«Lead, Tizona, yeah, tell me about it.» Paz chuckles. «I feel like I'm flying a UFO or something. All of these shiny buttons and knobs, and so little idea what they all do.» she jokes.

«Whatever, I'm green here Lead.» Seconds later Iceblade comms, «Dang, it's clear you guys have never flown in fighters that cruise faster than 400 before. Well at least not in the last few years.» Iceblade responds, having somewhat better control over the fighter's speed and controls due to previous experience in the hornet.

Veritas is silent for a few moments, his plane starts dropping back even further, and then his rockets go out, only to kick back in suddenly and start catching up. «…the frak is wrong with this thing, where is the….oh there it is» There is a pause a moment and then his voice comes on like nothing is wrong. «Apparently the radio cut out is a little too close to your elbow. watch it.»

«Heh-heh…» Paz chuckles. «Kitten, Tizona, copy that. Keep that in mind,
Flight, important safety tip,» the young pilot chortles.

«Well. Shit. Who called the rocket-jockeys? They are -our- kills.» A middle-aged fellow with shockingly red hair appears on the Rapiers' VDU screens. He's wearing the insignia of a Captain in the Terran Confederation Navy. «Just clean keep the kittens off our backs, and we'll shove our guns down their throats so hard that their mamma's will gag. Ney, out.» No introduction, nothing. But, the transmission from the TCS Michel Ney -does- seem to lay out who is in charge of this small capital ship detachment. And, the Ney's commander seems to live up to the bravado of her namesake, as the Exeter is in the process of closing with the enemy capitals, and already has begun to send out salvo after salvo of heavy anti-matter fire. The TCS Sir Francis Drake remains in formation with the Ney, but focuses its' attention on the second of the Fralthi-class ships.

The Fralthi appear to be the same that were engaged by the Terran forces just days ago, and their starfighter detachments must be depleted, as only five Dralthi appear to have launched by the time that Butcher flight arrives. The medium fighters make no bones about intercepting the Rapiers, though…and energy signatures would indicate that at least a few more Kilrathi are apt to join from the decks of the light carriers.

«Roger, Ney. Don't choke on your own ego, please.» A snort, and Pip switches back to his flight's tactical-net. «Tizona, Kitten is on your wing. Sloppy, show the new kid the ropes.» As usual, if they are an odd number, the Wing Commander has chosen to fly without someone watching his withered, liver-spotted old arse. «Keep your eyes peeled for interlopers, but until then….»> A low-thrum fills his cockpit as the old pilot hits the burners, and activates his full weapons battery…«<Tally-ho. Kill the blighters.»> His nimble fighter peels out of formation, and bears down on Dralthi-5, already spitting a mix of laser and neutron fire.

«Lead, Tizona, copy that. Kitten, form up on me, I'll go for the lead Dralthi, try and smoke his partner.» Paz radios, switching over to her shiny new Image Recognition missiles and, predictably, jamming the throttles to the firewalls. «Let's see what our new toys can do!» she calls, pickling off her weapon as soon as it paints a lock.

«Copy That Tizona» He then switches to an open mike «Dra'kil Natch soot» Which either means "come get some hot laser" or more likely "My pencil is big and yellow" in Kilrathi. His fighter forms up on Paz's wing and he begins a few evasive moves shaking his little booty at them.

«Copy that. Hey, Ice… Bucket. Whatever we're calling you. We're flying this tight. On my wing, keep them off of me.» He streaks his craft directly into the fray and targets the craft that's on his tail. He's not flying like he usually does. This is just a mindfuck for the poor guy. «Anything comes on me, we toast it, then we play cavalry when the coast is clear.»

Iceblade pulls to one side of Sloppy's Rapier and lines up on Sloppy's target. Iceblade readies a full blast of his guns right across through Dralthi's front, hoping to knock out its control systems. «Roger Sloppy, Ice out.»

And, it would appear that the capital ship duel is relatively indecisive, early on. But, the fighter engagement is rather the opposite. Two of the Dralthi are erased quickly, with only one of the human fighters taking a scratch. But, the Dralthi are no longer alone. Clearing the decks of their light carriers, a pair of Krant-medium fighters, and what appears to be a Hhriss-heavy have entered the mix, quickly selecting targets and engaging. The Kilrathi have also decided to work as a team, with multiple fighters each selecting a single human pilot and engaging.

«Piss. These guns are tops.» His full salvo of guns tear into the cockpit of his target, and manage to knock out the Dralthi's systems, sending the intact, but clearly dead fighter careening off through space. Pip's struck by a glancing burst of mass driver fire, but nothing that he can't handle, but still manages to call out…«Watch your arse, Tizona. Pair of Krants, intercepting.» He doesn't have a great angle to note the three Dralthi engaging Iceblade, now. His attention is focused on the Hhriss that is attempting to take up position on his six. «Eat it, bugger. Eat it, and -like- it.» A blast of laser and neutrons is spit toward the heavy fighter, as they turn, and burn…both trying to line up a kill shot.

«What the fuck was that?» Trey, in awe of his own ship. «We pulverized them. Holy crap, I've been working too hard.» Trey banks the ship really really really hard. or at least he thinks he does…. but the craft -does- it, and Trey is forced to deal with the friendly visitor known as G-Forces. «Holy… Ice, great shot. We got them mad. I've got you.» He taps the afterburner and almost regrets it for the sheer speed this ship gives him in return. «Check six. Bogey bearing one nine one mark one seven niner, three seven clicks and closing. Two more on your nine and high three. Am engaging.»

Iceblade blasts away with his guns taking a serious chunk of the on-coming Dralthi which is now unable to avoid complete destruction by Trey's IR missile. Iceblade comms cheerily, «Alright, we totally trashed that…Uh oh,» Iceblade then exclaims as a warning light comes on warning of shots being fired at him. Iceblade goes evasive pulling temporarily from Trey's wing and quickly launching a Fire and Forget missile as he comms, «Need a little help here, Sloopy.»

Firewalling a Scimitar is kind of like lighting the burner on an antique CF-104 Starfighter, you push the throttles to the stops, toggle the burner, then light a Lucky Strike and take a sip of coffee as you wait for the thrust to kick in. In a Rapier, it's somewhat different. Paz squeaks as the ship surges hard enough to slam her heavily into her couch, the relative speed display blinking like a War Bonds drive hot line with the Swedish Bikini team on screen. Her shot strikes home, but doesn't kill her intended target, mindful of her supply of warheads, she switches to a weapon she's often longed for but never had - lasers! "Okay, bitch, eat hot death!" she grins, reveling in the feeling of power, but only for a moment. Because just when she's about to cream, her threat receivers go crazy as the two Krants barrel into the fray and make right for her. Immediately, she begins to juke her ship as wildly as she possibly can.

Kitten shakes his three tails, flipping and turning the ship in a tight spin and leaving them in his dust as his Wing Leader takes out one of them. The other two break off, and as Paz draws after one of them he spots the two medium fighters closing on her, «Watch your six Tizona, you got bogeys.» He moves to engage one of them.

-Finally-, the capital ship fight starts to have telling results, as anti-matter is flung through the void. It is a slow, nasty slug-fest, but one that the Terran vessels are far better equipped to handle. For the moment, things look very good for the humans. The Kilrathi starfighters abruptly appear to shift target focus, as if trying to keep the human pilots from remaining too comfortable with the status of the dogfight.

«You did not just try to blow off my wing, you stupid bugger.» Someone's got their comm button depressed, and might not know it. «How fancy do you think I am, fucker. I didn't -ask- for a kiss on the first date.» Pip's Rapier continues to attempt to track down the heavy fighter that has decided to focus on Sloppy, now. Eyes are kept on the pair of starfighters after his own arse, but they are not directly engaged, for the moment. He's apparently trusting to his fast, nimble new lover. Err…ship. Over the radio, g-forces have his voice sounding ragged, as he continues to curse the enemy…until…«Shit, Kitten. You're….right…it is easy to trip the comms with your elbow. You heard nothing.» A full salvo is spat toward the Hhriss, as if to remind his pilots what will happen if they tell a soul.

"Shit….shit…shit!" Paz grumbles as her shots bracket, but don't strike home as the two Krants do their best to blast her out of the sky. Fortunately, she's able to juke around them, not so much artfully as luckily, the new ship's maneuverability catching her off guard after so long flying Scimitars. So much, so, that she finds herself in a tumbling ass-over-tea kettle spiral. "Okay, fuck this!" Paz snarls, and gives a judicial prod to her starboard thruster pedal, then maxes out her throttle once more to try and finally kill that Dralthi. «Kitten, say your status, over?»

Veritas tries to get a lock on one of the ones on his wingleader's tail but he can't seem to lock it down, he fires and the hits just bounce off the wing armor. «Frak this,» he switches to missiles, lining up on the target «Fox-3.»

Trey sweeps his craft around, through the fight. With the first of Phillip's dance partners apparently gone to eat the flowers or whatever it is they do, he takes aim on the second of them, streaking gunfire everywhere. He breaks off his attack to take his own shadow on a chase, swinging his bird around the TCS Sir Francis, dodging around a gun turret, and then coming back towards the one on Phillip. He blinks when he squeezes the trigger, watching his gun power drain at an alarming rate. «This thing is insane. I'm actually lowering shield output to boost the guns, here. Icecube, watch the hard deck on these caps. I've got you covered, though. Good flying. Good flying.»

Phillip successfully evades his attackers with most of his shields intact. Iceblade then cheerfully comms, «Hell yeah, can't hit me you fools.» Iceblade then comments, «You know I am beginning to wonder why I left the Hornet for the Scim….oh wait, it was for the better armor and shields.» Iceblade then pulls around noting that his FoF missed its mark, so he switches back to full guns and scans for a target. He quickly notices, however, that the Hhriss is now gunning for Sloppy, so he switches to an IR. «Coming at ya kitty,» Iceblade comms as he closes on heavy fighter, staying on target for lock while dodging the incoming fire from one of the Dralthis.

Numerous sensor contacts appear, coming from opposite directions. Shit just got real, as they say. «Attention friendly. Rhinos are -incoming-. Give us a target, Pip. We'll kill her for ya.» The throaty, laid back voice of the 332nd's CO, Captain Peterson fills their comms, just in time for the Michel Ney's CO to break into the conversation. «Ney, here. We've got Griks on scopes. Wouldn't mind an intercept on them, before they're close enough to launch.»

«Quite a party we're throwing. Tizona, Grikaths are yours. Sloppy, help protect the 332nd.» Pip's own starfighter heels over, and dives after the Hhriss that has taken so much of his attention, attempting to kill it before it can level the Broadsword that it seems to have taken a liking to. This time, an IR missile is released after the bastard, since full guns seem to be pinging off.

«Lead, Tizona, copy that, Kitten form up and we'll see if we can take out that bomber in one go,» she radios eagerly.

Kitten falls in with his Wing Leader, «Copy that, lets stop these guys before they do any real damage.» He smiles to himself and switches to Kilrathi «Here Kitty Kitty got something for your litter box.»

«Consider it done, man.» Trey swoops in like a bird of prey, dropping in on
one of the lighter birds and letting go with a FoF missile. His path takes him directly into the line of fire between the four fighting capships, though with the cannons firing on one another, his Rapier is just a tiny blip. A surface nuisance. Still, a few shots come awfully close. One comes close enough to make his shields glow blue.

Iceblade hear the locks and fires, but too late as a Krant blasts away his front shields. Iceblade quickly dodges further shots and soon meets fire from the pursuing Dralthi, which partially damages his weapons. «Damn you filthy Kats,» Iceblade curses over the comm as he turns to put his rear shields between him and the Dralthi to avoid further damage. Iceblade is starting to really feel the effects of the G-forces as he begins to pull tighter turns then he thought a fighter capable of. Iceblade comes right around locking his last IR missile on the Hhriss heavy fighter to finish her off.

Less than ten seconds ago, everything was well in hand for the Confederation. But, things change. TCS Michel Ney lived up to its namesake, pressing the charge when it was not terribly prudent. Under the combined fire of the lighter Fralthi's weaponry, the Exeter-class begins to show signs of wear. Hull plating buckles, phase shields drop entirely over large portions of the ship, until a particularly well-placed salvo tears the spine out of the human destroyer. The Ney begins to break in half, inertia carrying debris, escape pods, and flotsam in various directions, whilst the battle rages around the wreckage.

Suddenly outnumbered, and with Grikaths bearing down, TCS Sir Francis Drake is in a very tightspot. And, its Captain appears on the VDU…«Please forgive the disdain shown for you by my deceased partner. Drake would appreciate all of the assistance that you can provide, pilots. We've got some Kilrathi to vanquish.» His own accent is terribly proper English, much like the Major, when he isn't swearing up a storm. Drake continues to pound the lead Fralthi. The second Fralthi is apparently asked with assisting in fighter cover, and switches from AM batteries to its flak cannons, and shrapnel packed shells begin to explode in the vicinity of the Broadswords, and their escorts.

«Nice shooting, Ic…» In the midst of congratulating the rookie pilot on helping to eliminate the heavy fighter…a large warhead slams directly into Pip's forward shields, and collapses them, bucking the front mandible of the Rapier, and sending his starfighter turning end over end in an uncontrolled spin. «<F…..ttak….2nd….thi.»> Some sort of order is transmitted, but Jenthson's radio clearly boned, as he fights to regain control of his now evasive fighter. A friend or fire missile is dropped off toward a crippled Dralthi, but that is all the contribution the almost-destroyed Lady Jane Grey can make. «<Wie….kil….me….»>

«Drake, Tizona, get out of there!» Paz radios frantically as the tactical situation goes to absolute hell. «You've got two, repeat zero two Grikath's right on your flanks. Make best speed for clear space,» she advices, taking her own advice as the wave of debris approaches her, causing her to dive, fuzzing up her firing solution on the lead Grikath. "Heeere kitty, kitty…" she murmurs to herself, slowly starting to nudge her all but out of control fighter back into her hands as she lines up for another shot.

Veritas locks onto the Bomber in his path, he toggles his missile and fires as soon as he has a lock tone. He then pulls to the side, quickly just in time to miss a large block of the Ney's armor that goes hurtling past him «Tizona, Kitten, looks like the odds jest changed and not in a good way.»

Trey's position in the battle provides him with a beautiful view of the sinking of the Michel Ney. Even as his missile smacks into the Krant and engulfs it in a ball of bloody kitty pulp, he's already speeding forth, looking for the next one. «Son of.. a fuck!». As the second Fralthi's turrets open up, Trey does basically nothing, just trying to get Blackbird a clear shot. «Icecube, doubletime it on these things. Those bombers need a cat-free view if they're going to get us some even odds, again.»

Iceblade hears the lock and fires watching as both his and the Major's IR missiles collide with the Hhriss. «Score!» Iceblade chimes as he burns past the flaming ball formerly known as Hhriss. Iceblade notices a few flare-ups on his shields and looks up to see a Dralthi launch a dumbfire at him. Iceblade deftly rolls out of the missile's way and burns past the Dralthi, quickly turning around on it with a smile as he switches to full guns and tails the pancake preparing to get a solid shot in. «Hey Kat, I like my pancakes with butter,» Iceblade taunts as he empties his gun pool on the craft.

Paz's words fall on deaf, and soon to be dead ears. A torpedo from the second Grikath tears into the shields over the Drake's already weakened engines, and the shot proves to be a perfect one for the Kilrathi. A chain reaction leads to a blinding explosion, as reactors go critical across the Exeter-class destroyer, with most of Ney's escape pods caught in the terrible blast, and those not destroyed outright, are dosed with quite possibly lethal levels of radiation.

The battle is lost, now. Blackbird, one of the young pilots of the 332nd Rhinos is lost, as her gunnery crew….and that leaves Captain Peterson to try and cripple the Fralthi so that the there can be -survivors- of what could be described as a massacre, kindly. Nothing but a muted hiss of static is transmitted from Major Jenthson's crippled bird, as it has taken further damage in the flak cloud surrounding the Fralthi. Lady Jane Grey's engines appear to be locked into the on-position, and controls seem to be inoperable as the starfighter burns in a straight line, regardless of the empty space before it. Only the IFF remains transmitting, indicating the ship's power isn't completely lost.

«Butcher Flight, hell, all friendlies, Tizona, am assuming command.» Paz squawks. «Break contact and bingo for the Majestic! repeat, break contact! We've lost enough for one day. Sloopy, round 'em up and get them out! » she orders. «I'm chasing down our two pods. Send for immediate backup and SAR assets, advise them this is a hot combat zone.»

«Yeah. OK.» Trey Grayson, calm even when everything's turned to shit. Hey, it's easy to relax when you figure your chances of coming out of this alive are zip to begin with. «Ice, what's your status?» Trey looks around his cockpit, trying to get a visual on the situation. «If you can hear me, give me a status report. Skole, Sloppy. Be advised to alert fighters bearing to you two one niner mark six six. Hard ack ack ring of two five zero clicks outside of Fralthi-2. Tizona, I'm on you. Watch your tail.»

Iceblade's blasts hit, but unfortunately a quick turn to the left by the Dralthi throws Ice off guard, so not all of his shots hit. Iceblade quickly comes about only be hit right in the cockpit by the Dralthi with a dumbfire causing serious shrapnel damage to his left side especially his chest which has pierced all over with pieces of glass. Only the emergency forcefield is protecting Phillip now from certain death. "AAAGGGHHHH…" Iceblade screams as he begins attempting to evade now having difficulty in flying with such serious injuries. «Guys, this is Ice. I've taken a serious hit here. SHHIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!!!! GOing to EVADeee as best as I can. Ice, out.» Iceblade gives the Dralthi the finger and an FoF as a final send off before pulling away toward Trey.

«Copy Tizona, I got your wing covered on that pod search.» Veritas falls in on Paz's wing, he launches his last missile at the last bomber almost as an act of defiance.

Skole's able to avoid most of the flak that is sent his way, as well as the fighters that are on his six…he uses the dead, and spinning hull of the lead Fralthi to shield his initial approach, before throwing his PigSword down the throat of the remaining capital ship, and it works, to a degree. His torpedo impacts the Fralthi, and appears to do -some- damage to the enemy vessel. «Good luck, Tizona. Sloppy. I'll join once I've sent these fuckers down home to the farm.» The Captain is known as a cocky sort, and one that doesn't run from a fight while his bay still has torpedoes.

Iceblade starts juking and burning away as quick as he can. «Roger, Tizona, Sloppy. I'm aaahhhh…pulling out.» After a little distance, Iceblade is writhing in serious pain and starts to search for the med kit to get some relief. After finding the kit, he quickly injects himself with some pain killer hoping to dull the pain with non-sleep-inducing stuff.

Trey chases one of the Paz's unwelcome visitors, squeezing the trigger in short staccato bursts that mostly hit stars before they're likely to hit anything else. «Tizona, watch the hard deck. That Fralthi's AA ring's getting bigger. Tracking two bogeys inbound on you, one bearing two five two mark…» He squeezes the trigger again, aggressively lighting the afterburners in what is possibly a heroic move, but mostly just plain stupid. With his guns taking out the shields, he plows ahead, destroying his own shields in the process, but literally flying -through- the Dralthi in the process. Alarms sound all over his ship, and then the flak guns find him, tearing off chunks of armor and other things that are likely far more useful. «Go. Go. Why are you still here?»

«Iceblade, _get out of here_.» Paz radios, her tone brooking no argument «The rest of you, if you feel crazy enough, stick around and get the hell out of the flak ring!» she calls, grunting audibly as she toggles full reverse on the thruster pedals.

Kitten doesn't even reply, but he stays on his wingleaders tail, following her in the jinks, as one of the Dralthi drops in between them trying to line up on Paz he switches to his guns, pulling the trigger and lighting up the enemy fighter. «I'm getting some smoke in the cockpit off my weapon system I think something might be shorting out.»

Once out of the battle, Iceblade quickly sets to transmitter to the Majestic's frequency sending a long distance, tight-beam, burst communication. «Majestic, this is Iceblade. Wounded are coming in. Commander Jenthson's comm is out and I think he has lost control of his fighter, which is heavily damaged. His injuries are unknown. He will get to you first. I have serious shrapnel wounds..aaahhh..in the chest. Please have medics standing by. Assistance is required at the battlezone. Both destroyers are out and much of their crew is at the mercy of the Fralthi's guns. Request SAR immediately. Ice out.»

«All Friendlies, Tizona, RTB, repeat RTB!» Tizona sighs realizing that this fight is long past the winnable point. Pip's fighter continues to streak towards the fuzzy edge of the sensors, but it appears to be under some nominal form of control. «Let's get out of here while the getting is good.» she calls.

«Copy. Copy. Tiz, I'm up your ass. Don't twitch.» Trey's shields flicker as they struggle to come back to life, but it's just not happening. He puts everything to the rear. «Full power to aft shields. Skole, we're bugging out. As much as I think you're as scary an individual as I've met… in the military, I mean, and I have no doubt you could probably kill that ship on your own, I'd rather get a free demonstration some time when I don't think the rest of us are going to die.»

«Well. Shit. I do believe that I'm fucked, good buddies. Please do be tellin' my wife that I love her.» His Broadsword crippled, barely able to outrun the Fralthi, Skole's hauled his behemoth of a bomber around, to make a final pass on the destroyer, dropping off a torpedo at the minimum arming distance for the warhead, and then riding in its wake, as if willing it to make some sort of meaningful impact on the enemy vessel. The enemy starfighters appear to be focused on seeing the Confed fighters on their way, but are unlikely to overpursue.

Tizona sends a comm to the Majestic, «Majestic, Tizona, Pip's on a CBIR, repeat CBIR at my bearing two five one mark one five six. Extremely hot contact zone, multiple enemy fighters, repeat, multiple enemy fighters. Recommend you extract his trajectory and send a 'Sword to pick him up further down the line. Iceblade and Skole are hit bad, med teams on deck."

The Majestic sends a response, «Confirmed, Oscar Flight. We have been advised of your status. Fast movers are inbound.»

Kitten sees the others break off and he swears a little under his breath, but he isn't an idiot, and he sticks with his wingleader, letting the fighter he was locking in on go. As he hears Skole he says something softly that can only barely be heard through the comms if you listen close to the fuzz «Go with god Warrior to Valhalla. May your name be always remembered, may your honor be never forgot. Do not go alone, do not fear do not hesitate. Know that while you wait in paradise, they are going some place hot.»

«Vaya con Dios, Skole.» Paz sighs….

While the Minutemen make their escape, the Commanding Officer of the 332nd Rhinos, 27th Carrier Air Wing, impacts the phase shields of a Fralthi-class cruiser, and shatters….doing no damage with his sacrifice…but allowing for his comrades to escape. This has not been a good day for the Terran Confederation Space Forces, and a much -worse- day for the Terran Confederation Navy. Hundreds of swabbies are dead, with what few remaining alive, dosed with radiation and in the process of being captured, and sent to slave camps. Shit happens.

As the other fighters leave the scene, Iceblade comms to them. «How are you guys doing?»

Paz prays silently for the dead and dying they leave behind as she nurses her annoyingly hyper-responsive new fighter back on beam with the Majestic's co-ordinates. «Five by five, Ice..» she replies sadly. «Butcher flight,» she calls, irony thick in her voice. «Let's go home.»

Trey is missing a thruster. Just one. It flickers and sputters until the pilot can figure out how to turn it off which means… it flickers and sputters for the entire flight home, because there's no way he's figuring this out. He's pretty silent on the flight back, maintaining formation with Paz in front, as if for a show of force. «Hundreds of people just died, a bunch are probably going to get eaten by eight foot tall space cats.» Trey sounds tired and strained. «I'm awesome, Ice. Just awesome.»

Kitten doesn't answer at all, not a sound comes from the normally wise cracking pilots cockpit. He stay on Paz's tail making sure everyone else get home, before coming in last for a landing. His ship relatively unharmed.

As they return back to the Majestic, Tizona comms, «Majestic, Butcher Lead…Requesting a vector for the Initial Point. We have two seriously damaged craft in our flight, request you expedite their recovery.»

A little alarmed by his injuries, Iceblade comms, «Majestic this is Ice, aaahhhhaha….shit I'm starting to really bleed here. Clear me to land.»

Majestic Control's responds, «Majestic Flight Control. Butcher Four, hold at VOR for retrieval. Butcher Lead, the rest of your flight is cleared for approach on runway slots bravo, delta, and gamma.»

Iceblade quickly replies, «Majestic, request Rapier be tractored in, damage mostly to cockpit.» Majestic responds with «Butcher Four, you are ordered to hold at VOR for retrieval. Do not deviate from this course. Please confirm.» Iceblade confirms and grits his teeth hoping for a quick retrieval.

Tizona comms in, "Copy that, Majestic, Butcher Flight holding for Four's
retrieval."

__

Recovery Deck
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 0336 Hours 2658.136


Set behind the flight deck, the recovery deck is a single cavernous
space dedicated to the processing and repair of damaged fighter craft. A
network of taxi lines crosses the decking here, directing across the deck to a
pair of assessment stations, then further to the series of repair hangars, or
on to the elevators to the ready line below. The repair hangars occupy both
sides of the deck, open facings showing spacecraft in a variety of stages of
repair. At the fore end, the deck is open to space with a shimmering blue
barrier of energy serving to keep the atmosphere in and the vacuum out.
Retracted down into the floor is a heavy bay door to seal the deck in the even
power to the containment field is lost.


As the other craft land, both Jenthson's and Iceblade's Rapiers are brought in along with their pilots. Phillip is carefully helped out of the craft and immediately placed on a gurney. Phillip looks up at his comrades through blurred vision. He begins to raise he hand to wave, but it immediately falls. Phillip is totally unconscious and will likely be touch and go for the next hour.

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