Like Little Tin Turtles
Farewell and Adieu - Like Little Tin Turtles
Summary: TCS Meriwether Lewis makes its initial insertion into Kilrathi space, while a pair of Confederation cruisers provide a diversion
Date: 2658.154
Related Logs: Farewell and Adieu - Briefing, For We've Received Orders

The TCS Meriwether Lewis hangs in space near the hazy blue sphere of the jump marker from Junction to Nexus, flanked by a pair of Broadswords. The sleek forms of a pair of Stiletto fighters are visible on the upper wing surfaces of the corvette, and the more squat form of a pair of Rapiers linked below. The whole connection of ships is, however, dwarfed by the two massive Terran Gettysburg-class cruisers out in front.

« Alright pilots. Our diversion is about to make the jump » Comments the slightly fuzzy green image of Nucefora's face that appears on the cockpit VDUs. « We're going to give them a few minutes to draw the Kilrathi's attention, and then proceed through ourselves. Fighters, do not undock until we are clear from the jump point. Once we're through, remember, the plan is to proceed directly towards the jump point to Tingerhoff. Take a few pot shots if you like, and trash anything that decides to persue us, but remember. We are not here to get involved in the main engagement no matter how hairy things get for the cruisers. They have their own orders, and they're here to keep the enemy's eyes off of us. Clear? »

Just afer Nucefora asks his question, the two cruisers disappear from sight almost simultaneously in blinding flashes of blue-white light, making their jumps into Nexus. Operation Yamamoto has begun.

Kanani sits back in her cockpit waiting for the incoming jump, and checks over all her ships systems as she listens to the Naval officer give his orders. «Perfectly clear, sir.» She states, keeping her own conversation as minimal as possible even now. She must figure it's a good idea to get into that practice.

Sitting patiently in his Stiletto cockpit, Kell waits for the operation to go underway as he goes through the checklist for his fighter one more time. When the orders come through the comm system, the Lieutenant acknowledges it, «Understood, looks like we'll be buying a few rounds of drinks to the crew of the Cruisers when we come back.» With a hand, he reaches up and to the side to touch the picture of his parents and the rabbits foot, seems like Razor didn't hold back on bringing sentimental luck pieces along this time.

Sweating inside his flight suit and trying to control his breathing, McGrath and Broadsword 2 hang in space, awaiting the moment. Fiddling with a cuff seal, looking over the monitors… he nods, uselessly, at the transmission. «Acknowledged. And here's to that. God speed.»

Cue the sound of a comms unit clicking on, followed by an exaggerated soring sound. There's a theatrical « Wha? Huh? Someone say something? » in Cole's australian accent, followed a moment later by a more serious. « Voodoo acknowledges. So, who all's ready to be a hero? »

«Oh, I don't know about you guys, but I'll just settle for getting past this first step, in one piece myself.» Kanani states lightly as her eyes glance over to the screen in her fighter that has the time to jump counting down in it.

Smirking under his flight helmet, Razor keys on his comm system as he responds, «Well, it's either become a hero or become very dead, since it's a little late to back out now. I prefer the former than the latter.»

Alec eyes the pink clay statue of a torpedoed Kilrathi wedged against his cockpit. As talismans went, it wasn't much, but the slim hope that Saint-Cloud's daughter was some sort of magic fortune-granting leprechaun was there. If nothing else, the faintly ridiculous sculpture was a shield against thoughts of what happened on his last combat sortie… «One piece will do,» he replies, trying to put some heart into his words. «Let's go do that Voodoo that you do so well, Lead.»

« Copy that. Someone tell Nucefora to wake me up when we get to Kilrah. » Cole replies with a chuckle, slouching a little further in his seat. For his part, there's no last minute ritual for luck. Just a cycling through his ship's systems, a quick power adjustment or two, and a return to keeping track of the timer for their own transit as it steadily counts down.

« Standby. » The single word coming in from the Lewis ineterrupts the conversation between the pilots, followed a moment later by « Jump initiation on my mark. Three. Two. One. Mark. » And just like that, the Lewis is gone from Junction as well. The two broadsword bombers follow only a moment after.

The scene on the far side of the jump? Well, that's already looking whole worlds of ugly. Apparently expecting a Terran push back into Nexus following the action in Junction, a Kilrathi destroyer squadron is parked near the jump point… rapidly closing on the cruisers, as the cruisers' own main batteries train towards the Kilrathi ships. A spectacular light show is apparently about to be in the offering. A handful of Kilrathi fighters move in between the heavier ships, even as each of the Confederation cruisers scrambles its own half-squadron of Rapiers to intercept.

Kanani raises her eyebrows slightly as the Lewis jumps into the system, and she catches sight of the enemy forces. «Wow, they must have been expecting a big push to be coming in their direction.» She states as she gives her ship one last minute check of the weapons and systems, and gets ready to undock. «Tsunami here. Ready to undock on your order.»

Once the jump is completed by their temporary new home, Razor's sensors come alive with multiple hostile spots. «Oh damn… looks like the cats were expecting company. I think our decoys just stepped in a bear trap.» With a flick of a couple of switches in his cockpit, the Stiletto is detached from the TCS Meriwether Lewis. Next, Razor quickly pushes the thrust lever forward and the Stiletto's triple engines glow brightly and immediately picks up speed, kicking ahead. «Permission to do a quick run to take some heat off of our escorts.»

There's the nauseous feeling of a jump, coupled with the dizzying perspective of making that jump in a cockpit instead of inside the hull of a nice, warm starship… but the view on the other side isn't much less distressing. The firestorm already beginning to engulf the cruisers… Jesus Christ, they're all going to die over there, is McGrath's first thought. The transmissions and the sudden vibration of the Meriwether Lewis from jump awakens him to the realisation that he'd just been sitting still, staring… "God dammit," he curses, throttling up and pulling alongside the Venture in an escort pattern, biting his lip as he catches Draygo's request.

The two groups of opposing craft continue to drift closer, the combatants keeping to the relatively stately pace of the capital ships as gunners on both sides count down the range to their targets. As the two groupings draw nearer, fighters begin to break away from the heavier ships, racing in towards each other with brilliant flares of afterburner-lit engines. A few scattered long-range shots are visible as little stars against the deep black of the void.

Suddenly, space comes alive with violence as the main batteries on all sides open up almost simultaneously, filling the void with the angry glare of barely-contained antimatter, the flare of shields as they struggle to absorb the tremendous energies flung agains them. And then, there are the first explosions.

« All craft, break formation and engage. We're going to swing through for a quick pass, and catch the Lewis on the far side of this mess. From there on out, the cruisers are going to be on their own» Cole orders simply, his broadsword banking away from the formation already, angling in for the nearest of the Kilrathi destroyers. « Make your shots count »

«Copy that, Lead.» Kanani states as her fighter leaves the Lewis behind, and switching to heat seekers she sets up a quick shot on one of the bombers, since the longer the cruisers can keep the cats distracted without getting blown up, the better for the real mission.

«Affirmative, breaking and attacking.» Taking advantage of the Stiletto's nimbleness and high speed, Razor immediately dives in on the Kilrathi who are in a head-on engagement with the Kilrathi defenders. Flicking the master switch to the Heat Seekers on, he targets the lead Dralthi who is gunning for a Rapier and once the tone goes solid, he launches his first missile, sending it streaking at the cat.

McGrath's breath catches in his throat as the order is given. «Understood, Voodoo,» he manages, as he swings his Broadsword to follow Cole in, engines flaring. "Alright now, you can do this, you can do this," he mutters. He eyes the pink statue, and then the Ralari in his sights, eyes narrowing. "You've done it before…"

To say the action isn't exactly going as planned would be the understatement of the century. Rorke's Drift continues to furiously trade blows with the Kilrathi destroyers swarming it… even as two of those destroyers are struck by Broadsword-launched torpedoes, tearing ugly chunks from their hulls. The real surprise, however, is the Corunna. The cruiser's laser batteries successfully swat a pair of torpedoes from the sky, while the main guns trade fire with a Kilrathi destroyer. As the destroyer's first shot impacts, the Corunna simply goes dark, its guns falling silent. There's no explosion, not even a serious breach of the hull. Just a disabled Terran cruiser in the worst possible place for it to be. The remaining Kilrathi all turn in on the Rorkes drift now, sensing a quick and easy victory.

« I don't know what the hell that was, but we've lost the Corunna » Cole reports simply, even as he brings his bomber around for another pass at the Kilrathi destroyer. « Stick to your mission objectives. »

Razor's Stiletto screams by the lead Dralthi only a few seconds after his Heat Seeker slams into its crescent wing, exploding and shearing it off and sending it spinning out of control into the depths of space. With one Kilrathi escort fighter eliminated, the Lieutenant quickly toggles the next Dralthi and pulls back on his flight stick, climbing back up into a steep ascension and fires off his second Heat Seeker. The destruction of the Terran Cruiser dosn't go unnoticed of course, leaving a dark feeling in the pit of his stomach but now isn't the time for that.

Kanani grimaces as one of the cruisers gets knocked out of the fight, and she comments over the radio. «Don't think we want to hang around this fight much longer» She keeps her comment simple, if rather obvious, as she tries to finish off that pesky bomber, to give the Rorkes Drift at least a slightly better chance of doing it's job.

"Crap!" McGrath exclaims, scowling at both his off-aim torpedo shot and at seeing the wounded Corunna take a punch to the gut and reel away. "Bastards," he snarls, thumb twitching over the torpedo release as he nudges his flight stick, correcting his aim. «Not much longer, but they deserve a bloody nose for that,» he transmits.

Struck fore and aft by torpedo fire, one of the Kilrathi destroyers shudders for a moment before being torn apart by a line of explosions along the center of the craft, slowly splitting into two spinning halves. A second destroyer's turrets begin to swivel drunkenly through space, its fire control systems disabled by a torpedo strike. Rorke's Drift continues its lonely fight against the Kilrathi, surrounded by five destroyers but still not giving up the fight.

« That's one for the Corunna, you bastards » Cole growls into his helmet as he swings his bomber around towards another destroyer for the attack. Apparently, the Major isn't intent on stopping at one. « Watch yourselves, Stilettos, looks like you've got company coming to call »

Kanani nods slightly to herself as the bomber in her sights gets blown up finally, and she looks around, to get an idea of how the combat's going, which still isn't all that great at the moment. She also tries to keep an eye on where the Lewis is, for when it's time to break off the attack. As one of the Dralthi sets their sights on her, she rolls her fighter around and tries to get on it's tail, trying to get him before he gets her.

"Damn," McGrath curses, as a second torpedo shot goes slightly astray. «Roger that, lead», he spits out, thumb poised as his Broadsword swoops around to find a third target, the flare of afterburners signalling the start of another attack run. "Hail mary pass," he mutters to himself.

«I see it, thanks, Voodoo.» Instead of turning to face the incoming Kilrathi reinforcements, Razor stays on the six of the Dralthi that he had just damaged with a Heat Seeker. Jinking his fighter as he tries to keep the Dralthi in front of him in front, he fires off his last Heat Seeker before breaking off to port side, hopefully in time before the incoming mass driver fire from the rear peppers him.

The Meriwether lewis proceeds straight through the Kilrathi formation, lobbing a torpedo into the hull of a nearby destroyers as it passes… even if the result perhaps isn't quite as spectacular as might be hoped. Nucefora's face again appears on the screens of the escorts. « Alright, we're clear. Rorkes Drift is going to try and draw them back towards the jump. Recall and form back up, we're continuing on-mission »

Five Kilrathi destroyers still hang in space, though four show various degrees of damage. Rorke's Drift begins its slow withdrawl towards the jump, main batteries training their fire on the most badly damaged of the Kilrathi craft, hoping to deprive the kittens of one more destroyer before being forced to withdraw. Over at the Corunna, lights begin to slowly flicker on once more as damage control teams work frantically inside the hull to repair the damage done to the cruiser and bring it back to life in time to withdraw back through the jump.

« Voodoo to flight. I've got one fish left, and I don't intend to keep it around as a souvenier. I'll catch up. » Cole reports simply, as his broadsword swings in for one more pass. Someone apparently has a tough time knowing just when to quit.

"Damn!" Alec spits a second time, as his torpedo smacks into the bridge but the Ralari keeps on fighting. «Roger that, Voodoo,» he sighs. «One more go.» "Turned into a right mess and no mistake," he adds to himself, taking notice of the growing number of contacts on his scanner. He grips his flight stick as if he could choke his target by proxy, and fires again. It seems that he's not about to let his first action as XO to be to be running for it first…

Kanani sighs slightly as the order to recall is given. She ponders staying in the fight for just a bit more, but as she's out of missiles she decides that she's not likely to do much good in a short amount of time with her guns, so her fighter spins on it's tail and starts to head in the direction of the corvette. «Copy that, I'm on my way, back.»

There seems to be some hesitation on Razor's part as he was about to break off on the engagement as was planned, but when the Broadswords that are on the same mission as he is presses on, the Lieutenant decides to linger for a moment to watch their backs as long as he can. «Razor here, will rejoin as soon as possible as well, unable to break off. Voodoo, you have incoming, trying to shake him off. Beagle, you have one on you too, watch yourself!» With his missile rack empty, Razor swaps to Mass Drivers and starts shooting out a burst while shaking his fighter around to dodge the Dralthi on his tail.»

Was the last bomb run worth it? Two Kilrathi destroyers shatter under fire from the last of the torpedoes from the broadswords. Suddenly the engagement might not look quite so uneven. The Corunna's lights finally flicker back on to stay, the vessel limping towards the jump at a pace that's glacial even for a cruiser of its size. Rorkes Drift pauses at the jump point, the threat against it reduced… remaining behind for a few more moments to cover to Corunna.

It's not all good news, however. A heat-seeking missile slams into Cole's broadsword, tearing a nasty chunk away from the right wing of the bomber. It shudders, it staggers, but at the end of the day… it still flies. Cole's face flickers on the VDU once more, a little grin lingering despite the damage inflicted on his bomber. « Voodoo to wing. I'm hit, but I'm still here. Withdrawing now, I'm out of fish. »

«Understood, Voodoo, still watching your six, looks like the cats have broken off after that engagement though. We are in the clear.» With his eyes focused on the sensors and around their surroundings, Razor stays alert while they move towards the Lewis.

Alec smiles fiercely as his target goes dark, listing badly and out of the fight - but that smile's wiped when Cole reports his status, a disconcerting reminder of mortality and the need for escape. The bomberpilot grits his teeth and nods to himself, bringing his ship about. «Forming up on your wing, Voodoo.» The urge to add 'Lead, you're on fire' is there… but no. That joke's too dark, too soon.

Kanani continues on her heading towards the Lewis, ahead of the fighter and two bombers also on the way. «You boys all, alright over there?» She asks with a slight chuckle, as she looks around for any cats that might be tagging along. Fortunately they seem to be elsewhere for the moment, and the skies are nice and clear.

As the Confederation fighters withdraw, the fight between the heavies continues… Corunna finally reaching the jump and disappearing through in a blue-white flash. Rorkes Drift remains behind a moment longer, main batteries tearing savagely into the badly-damaged Kilrathi destroyer. Adding insult to injury, the smaller flashes of the Drift's heavy lasers can be spotted flicking around the shields as well, pouring every ounce of available firepower into the ruined destroyer. The buckling of the Kilrathi ship's shields is a subtle thing, there one moment and gone the next. The tremendous explosion that follows as the full combined firepower of the cruiser strikes straight through the ruined hull and into the reactor is less so.
Only then is there a second blue-white flash of a jump drive activation.

Inside his cockpit, Cole's been busily adjusting power settings, shifting his broadsword's thrusters to compensate for the suddenly asymmetrical flight profile of his craft. It swings drunkenly for a moment as he overcompensates, then pulls back to level flight once more. « Showing the right stabilizer damn near shot off here. A little minor damage to other systems, but nothing to worry over there. Don't think I'm going to win any beauty contests, but she'll still fight. Damage reports from the rest of you? »

«Razor here, all systems green. Unscratched and good to go.» Razor answers as he cycles through the system check to make sure that he wasn't hit without noticing though it would be hard, due to the tin can nature of the Stiletto.

«Tsunami here. Everything's in mint condition here.» Kanani states with a chuckle, as she continues to plow ahead on a course with the Lewis.

Nodding farewell and thankyou to the cruisers as the flash of jump-drive activation lights up space and the dots disappear on his scanner, Alec punches up the damage readouts, nodding again as it confirms what he already knows. «Not a scratch, Voodoo,» he replies. «My bomber's a-ok, too!» he adds, suddenly grinning as relief and post-battle euphoria hit.

« Right, bring 'em in. Stilettos first, I'd hate to accidentally not leave you a place to park » Cole comments with a little chuckle. « And I promise, I'll try not to squish you on landing »

«Better not. Otherwise we'd have to beat you up, sir.» Kanani chuckles over the radio, as her Stiletto moves in towards the Lewis, and prepares to dock with the corvette.

Laughing, amused and perhaps relieved that their insertion into Kilrathi territory was successful, Razor begins to glide his Stiletto toward one of the empty modified fighter racks on the Lewis as he says into the comm, «Comon now Voodoo, don't be bitter that we were smart enough to not crash our fighters into a missile back there.»

«The mag-hatch lock mechanism and missile releases ARE kind of close together,» Alec quips, guiding his broadsword in behind the Stilettos and drifting towards the docking latches. «Last one in gets the drinks, crushed or not.»

« Hey, would you look at that, Razor? I just found two dead Ralari's worth of 'Kiss My Ass' onboard. » Cole replies with an amused chuckle, his damaged broadsword circling while he waits for the Stilettos to settle back on the Lewis' hull.

With a clang, Razor's Stiletto is secured onto its fighter rack and the pilot begins the shutdown procedures but before doing so, he does use the comm one last time. «They did light up like pretty Christmas trees, I'll give you that. I'm sure the Corunna and Rorkes Drift are very appreciative. And on that note, Razor signing off.» The cockpit lights begin turning off along with the quieting whine of the engines.

That transmission gets a nod from McGrath as he awkwardly begins his own landing procedure. "Nrgh," he mutters, frowning in concentration, unused to this kind of landing. A big sigh of relief comes when he hears the thunk-click of a solid hatch seal, and he begins clambering out, into the Meriwether Lewis.

Kanani chuckles softly at the banter going on between the other pilots, though she stays quiet as she concentrates on the task of setting her Stiletto into it's fighter rack. Once it's locked in with a loud clang, she states «Alright. I'm down. Tsunami signing off, as well.» before she starts shutting down the fighters systems.

And the last of the fighters to settle back against the Lewis' hull is Cole's battered broadsword, gingerly nestling in against the docking point before he reaches out to slap the controls to shut his craft down and make for the hatch. Only then does he allow himself the observation under his breath "That was close"

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