A Not So Friendly Game Of Football
A Not So Friendly Game Of Football
Arc: Strange Bedfellows
Summary: A plan is enacted to deal serious damage to Kilrathi forces in the region. Only problem is, a small group of fighters and the TCS Cook are used as the bait for the fighters.
Date: 2659.240
Related Logs: None
Participants: Paz Foster Phillip Walsh James

A rather heavy group of fighters and the TCS Cook are flying out in a lonely stretch of space near a certain debris field. Yes the one that our resident Junk Squad snuck through before on their little salvage op. Taylor is convinced that the enemy Fralthi is holding position near there as a Command and Control ship for recon operations. So the Squadron Commanders have devised a plan to take it out without needing to expend a large fighter force. The plan seems simple enough, present the cats with a decoy while the real hammer smashes from behind. So the TCS Cook is presenting itself as a large group of slow moving bombers heading toward the Fralthi. This will definitely get the attention of the Kilrathi forces who will no doubt send a large fighter force to engage. All the while, a second force of Sabres and Rapiers will fly more stealthily and destroy the Fralthi. By the time the Fralthi does a recall, the fighter force should be halfway to the decoy and end being split in half with little time to save the Fralthi. If all goes well, the strike group should be racing back to the Majestic before the Kilrathi fighters returns.

«Linebacker Flight, Linebacker Lead, come to one two four mark one five six and maintain formation.» Paz calls over the radio, eyes locked on her sensors when she isn't scanning the space around her craft. "Lady, you better know what the hell you're doing this time," she grumbles to herself. The idea of fighting with the Cook again is not sitting well with her.

Iceblade is flying on Paz's wing feeling a little nervous. If the plan fails and the cat fighter force doesn't split up, they will probably be outnumbered 3 to one or worse. Phillip follows the order and radios, «Linebacker Lead, Linebacker three acknowledges.» "I just wish I was with the Rapiers guarding the Sabres." He adds off the comm channel.

Staying in position at the moment, Foster looks out rather carefully. As he hears that part on the comms, he makes sure to broadcast on the radio. «Linebacker Lead, Linebacker Two here. Ready to rock and roll.» Keeping quiet aside from that.

Ah. Same ol' chunk of space, now with less sneaking. As is the way with everything lately, this hop has the feel of having a hair's width separation between success and being completely FUBAR. Walsh is formed up, prepped, ready to roll. And damn glad to at least not be running on passives or dodging 'roids. «Linebacker Four copies.»

Another minute passes and the debris field can be seen in the far off distance straight ahead. Then, light Commander Jane Auldwell appears on the comm, «Linebacker and Frontlinemen Flights, we have inbound Sarthas. Eight to be precise vectoring toward us from the debris field. Also be advised another 4 light fighters are detected inbound from vector three two seven mark eight five three. *some hesitation* Linebacker Lead, your orders?» Jane Auldwell asks through gritted teeth before the transmission ends.

Paz double-clicks her mic to acknowledge the flight's transmissions. Upon hearing the Cook's transmission, she takes a glance at her sensors and starts doing a little bit of mental math. «Cook, Linebacker Lead, copy that. Keep an eye on those light fighters, we'll try and thin out the Sarthas before they can get to you.» she calls over the radio. «Flight, Lead, Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages..» she intones in her best circus ring master imitation. «It's time to kick some Fuzzy Wuzzy ass. We're probably only gonna get a couple of passes on 'em, but we'll thin 'em out best we can. Just stay out of the Cook's flak ring and be aware of that second fighter group.» she calls, switching her weapon systems from STNDBY to ACTIVE and keying up a dumbfire. «Talllyho! Incoming Sartha at one four two mark two two seven. Tizona's coming hot…» she says, starting to align her target in the reticule…«Fox two!»

"Okay here we go, better save my missiles just in case," Phillip says to himself as he cues up one of the Sarthas vectoring for him. The distance ticks down with two Sarthas heading for him, so Phillip takes a more careful stance with his approach. Finally he gets in range and fires away, «Iceblade Guns!» he yells in the radio.

"Rock and roll, out of control…" Foster comments to himself. «On them, Lead.» Short and to the point from Gambit as he moves in for one of the Sarthas, rather aggressively.

Eight Sarthas. Guess we got their attention. Walsh picks a critter at random, lights the burners, and tries his hardest to make it feel welcome. With a fast approaching suicide Stiletto, how could it not? «Ozone Guns.»

There is some hesitation on the part of the Sarthas initially given that what they see is not what they were expecting. Even still, they begin vectoring and afterburning for the Confed ships and open up with their neutrons as they get in range.

Not far behind Linebacker flight are the four Raptors of Frontlinemen Flight, what is with the football analogy today. The Captain Cheswick - XO of the 102nd Fighter Squadron: the Conquistadors and lead Raptor for this flight - radios over the comm, «Frontline flight, Firewall here. Let's burn through these Sarthas but save your missiles for now. No telling what else is coming.» A series of three immediate and quick acknowledgements are heard. Just then the TCS Cook begins opening fire, shooting underneath and between the Confed ships in a long range attempt to splash some Sarthas. Well at least, the lasers are more precise than flak, so the shoots are missing the Confed ships… for now.

As the two groups meet, a lot of hits and misses are made by both sides. Most notably, a solid by Paz's dumbfire eviscerates one Sartha combined with a finisher from Hellfire's guns on that Sartha's right wing. At the extreme range, the TCS Cook is only able to hit one of the Sarthas and does relatively minor damage. The Cook begins heading towards the melee straight on firing a full spread at the Sarthas. At least the Cook's gunners are actually good at avoiding at the Confed fighters.

«Nice shot Hellfire.» radios Second Lieutenant Aeneas, callsign Mercury - one of the other Raptor pilots. The Raptors continue firing at various Sarthas in the melee with their guns.

Paz grins as her missile detonates at precisely the right point, reducing the Sartha to a rapidly expanding cloud of white-hot metal fragments and burning gas. Her ship shudders as another makes a successful neutron gun pass, but a glance at her damage display indicates no problems, so she doesn't even bother slowing down. «Linebacker flight, Lead, one down, one damaged. Coming around for another pass.» she calls, switching to full guns to conserve her missiles and throwing her ship into a rapid high-g turn to align her sights with the Sartha plaguing Phillip. «Iceblade, break left!» she calls, then squeezes the double triggers.

Iceblade's Rapier flies through the incoming rounds with no hits, but his own shots miss. Shortly thereafter one of those Sarthas attacking him falls, «Nice shot Tizona» Iceblade radios as he comes about and quickly finds a Sartha on him. Upon hearing Tizona's response, he immediately breaks left and spies a Sartha heading now for Paz. A quick switch to Friend or Foe and a launch is all Phillip has time for before his ship flies past the Sartha. «Watch out Tizona,» he radios quickly before bringing his fighter around onto the Sartha's tail.

Frowning as his shots miss, Foster looks around for a few moments, but brings his ship around to go for the same enemy as before. The pilot's humming some kind of song that he's careful about not getting out on the radio, otherwise keeping silent, though.

Walsh swears as his target changes directions abruptly, just as he opens fire. The majority of his rounds miss the mark, but some manage to strike the lucky Cat's shields, leaving them glowing 'barely there red'. As he maneuvers for another shot, he looks over his shoulder to see the very same Fuzzy launching an equally ineffective attack on Tizona. Seconds later, he's back in Walsh's crosshairs, ready for round two.

As the fighter melee continues, more shots ring out and hit home with the Sarthas taking the brunt of it with three more going down in flames. Just then four new ships arrive on the scene from the direction of the Xytani jumppoint. These however aren't normal light fighters. They are Drakhri, elite pilots of the Empire of Kilrah.

«Pilots, heads up, we have 4 enemy fighters coming in and coming in fast» the Cook radios as the ship continues to fire at the closer Sarthas.

«Linebacker lead, Frontlinemen lead, I believe you can handle the rest of these guys from here. FrontLinemen flight, form up on me, arm your imrecs and let's go bust some of these insolent Drakhri.» Firewall orders. In quick succession, the four Raptors form up and 'burn towards the Drakhri and launching missiles only seconds later. The Drakhri however have the same idea and fire their dumbfires at the Raptors.

Paz frowns to herself as her attack only gets a piece of the Sartha, but not all of it. Doggedly, she hangs on its tail, lining up for a second shot, or is trying to when the third Sartha's neutron weapon eats a hole in her wing. Fortunately for her, it's destroyed mere seconds later, bracketed in the Cook's flak ring. «Frontline Lead, Linebacker Lead, copy that, good hunting out there. Good shooting, Gambit.» she calls, frowning when the Sartha she's pursuing pulls a fast one and somehow manages to get on her tail. "Shit, there's two of 'em!" she scowls, throwing her fighter into a wild series of evasive maneuvers. «Flight, Tizona, I've got a little situation over here.» she reports.

As Phillip comes around, he manages to avoid the neutron, but quickly finds that his recent target is now just a ball of fiery gas after his FF hit. «Oh well, the board just got..damn it, more!» He radios. Just then he spies two Sarthas making a beeline for Paz. "Oh no you don't," he says as he cues up an image recognition missile. «Don't worry Tizona, Ice has got your back.» he radios.

PING! goes the lock as Iceblade lines up a clean shot of his imrec right at the Kil's face. «Iceblade, Fox 2.»

«Thanks. Got one of those on me. Will clean it up then come help.» Foster offers as he turns to meet the new enemy now, straight for it.

"All batteries fire on Sarthas 5 and 7, on my mark." Jane Auldwell orders her crew as she brings the Venture into optimal firing position. "Fire, away." she orders. The TCS Cook's laser turrets then train on two of the Sarthas and begin sending forth a hail of laser bolts at them.

Nine out of ten veterinarians agree that gunning for Tizona is hazardous to Kilrathi health, with the cockpit of Walsh's target receiving an impromptu remodeling. It seems they haven't received the memo though, with two more trying to take chunks out of her. Not happening if Ozone has any say in the matter. «I'm on the other one. Let's teach these fleabags a little about chivalry.»

Rounds from the Cook combined with heavy fire from the Linebackers shred two of the Sartha into dust while the other two Sartha come out relatively clean with one managing to avoid an incoming dead-on missile by the missile colliding with the Sartha's own neutrons.

Over on the other side of the battlezone, the Drakhri and Raptors do significant damage. Hellfire's (First Lieutenant Martin) Raptor, takes a serious hit to the nose, but the pilot manages to get the better part of the exchange as the Drakhri takes a nasty hit to its control systems, which causes the fighter to lose control completely. The ship goes flying straight off towards the debris field. The Lead Raptor, Firewall manages to avoid a dumbfire but his own missile only manages to shear off some armor from the Drakhri. The other two Raptor pilots, Mercury and Elixir (Second Lieutenant Amrita), land decent hits on two of the Drakhri. Unfortunately while Mercury manages to avoid a hit, Elixir takes a dumbfire to one of her wing-mounted mass driver cannons. «Let's take these fleabags down Frontline. Get on their tails and burn up their tail pipes. Firewall out.»

Paz jinks, jukes, dives, ducks and dodges and still manages to get slightly pranged, fortunately, the armor on her ship prevents any serious damage. All of the maneuvering gives her a great chance to see how awesome the flight's doing though. «Nice shooting, Gambit!» she calls, flipping her ship around to make a pass on the incoming Sartha. «Tizona's rolling in hot, guns!»

«Thanks, Tizona. Not done with it, though.» Gambit's voice comes out a bit lightly as he turns to face his foe again, trying his best to take out the enemy now.

Iceblade's eyes grow wide as he see the Sartha's gunfire whether by accident or skill shoot down his imrec. Iceblade turns on the light fighter's tail and unleashes several salvos of laser and neutron fire. «Iceblade GUNS!» he yells over the comm, clearly pissed by the waste of the missile.

The TCS Cook's guns fall silent in order to avoid potentially hitting any of the Confed ships.

And teach Walsh did; another Sartha with a perforated cockpit. His job's not done yet, though, there's still a furry on Tizona's tail. He stomps on his rudder and throws the stick hard right, swinging around to face the other threat. Sartha in crosshair. Squeeze trigger. Bye, Kitty?

The Raptors come about on their prey faster than the Drakhri and shear through them with heatseekers. Two of the Drakhri receives serious damage while a third gets away with bloody nose. This is more than enough to throw off their aim when they launch dumbfires, which go sailing off harmlessly into the distance. Now the Drakhri are all of good weapons and must resort to lasers only. The Drakhri, however, are not going down without a fight and focus on Hellfire ignoring the other Raptors.

Back at the Linebackers, one of the Sarthas is dogpiled and torn apart by Walsh, Paz, and Phillip. The other Sartha also receives a scratch from Foster. All the while these Sarthas find themselves unable to hit anything.

Things would appear to be going outstandingly well for the Confed pilots, but the battle is not over yet. «Linebackers, Frontlinemen. We have detected an inbound group of heavies. Three Hhrisses and Grikaths very close and coming in fast. Torpedo range 30 seconds.» The Cook radios hurriedly as the ship immediately comes about and retreats from the area. All the while maneuvering to throw off the aim of the Grikaths.

The three Hhrisses seeing the Raptors still engaged and somewhat drawn off, immediately vector for Linebacker flight while the Grikaths start lining up for their torpedo runs.

"Crap," Firewall says before radioing his flight, «Elixir, Hellfire, chew up these Drakhris. Mercury, with me. Let's see what we can do about the heavies.»

Paz grins as her target is swatted out of the sky by her, Walsh and Phillip. She's coming about for another pass on the lone remaining Sartha when she receives the head's up. «Cook, Tizona, understood. Linebackers, we've got six kinds of ugly heading in, let's see if we can make 'em regret making a torp attack.» she calls, switching her weapons back to her final Dumbfire. and lining up an attack on one of the incoming bombers. «Tizona, fox two!»

Foster frowns a bit as he listens now, grumbling a bit at the mention of the newest arrivals. «I'll finish off this one before joining the rest of you against the newcomers?» he offers over the radio, spinning his Stiletto around to attack once more.

Phillip's guns along with the Walsh's and Paz's rip Sartha 8 a new one. "Yes, the Sartha is toast," Phillip says and he is about to congratulate the others when he hears the Cook's talk of new..heavy newcomers. «How many more of these guys do we have to kill before they get the point.» Phillip radios and he cues up a dumbfire and targets the lead Hhriss that is targeting Paz. «Taste death kitty.»

Zing, Zing

Iceblade's Rapier is receiving shots from another Hhriss, so Phillip immediately attempts to evade the shots while lining for a good shot on the Hhriss' cockpit….Missile away…
As the battle continues, a small explosion from the debris field can be seen as the out of control Drakhri smacks into a chunk of a dead Ralari destroyed less than a week ago.

While Walsh is slightly disappointed that he didn't make the hat-trick for cockpit redecoration, the Sartha that he — and, apparently, everyone else — was gunning for, makes an impressive fireworks display. Good news doesn't last long around here, though, and the inbound bombers definitely aren't. He switches to missiles, and cycles through contacts, finding a nice, hot, thermal signature to extinguish. «Ozone, Fox Two.»

The Drakhri rapidly find themselves under some hurt as Elixir's heatseeker smacks the lead Drakhri right in his lap. «You cannot defea…» the Drakhri attempts to radios when he takes the fire in the lap before his ship explodes.

«The Drakhri, yeah yeah we've heard it all before.» Elixir radios and turns to take on another of the Darkhri.

One of the other Drakhri takes it right in the nose as well, but keeps ticking having limited damage before. The two remaining Drakhri attempt to defend themselves as best they can.

Foster and the other Sartha continue to dogfight, neither managing to get a hit. Meanwhile Phillip and Paz both fire DFs at the lead Hhriss, however, only Phillip's manages to break through the armor doing spectacular and crippling damage to the Hhriss even injuring the pilot a good bit. Both Hhrisses attacking the Rapiers find their prey too nimble, but the third, though suffering from moderate damage from Firewall's imrec, still gives Walsh's Stiletto a bloody nose.

Unfortunately all three Bombers come out relatively unscathed and start their torpedo runs on the TCS Cook, which begins hailing shot after shot at the incoming Grikaths.

Paz curses when her missile doesn't do any more than mar the paint on the lead bomber, fortunately, her wingman's does a /lot/ more, so she decides to let the critically wounded bomber go for now and concentrates her attention on the second bomber, switching to imrecs for her next attack. «Hell of a nice shot, Iceblade.» she grins, uncaging the missile's seeker head and almost instantly starting to hear the sweet sound of the growling noise it makes when it's got a lock. «Tizona, Fox 2!»

Still fighting that remaining Sartha, Foster switches over to the heat seekers, targeting the other ship. He stays silent for now, though, at least outwardly. But inside the cockpit, there's quite a bit of singing at the moment.

Iceblade fires off his dumbfire and goes evasive, successfully dodging the Hhriss' rounds. As Phillip turns his Rapier around to go after the bombers, he notices that the Hhriss that he and Paz hit is ripped to shreds but still flying. «Thanks Tizona, now let's cut through these bombers.» Iceblade lines up on the Lead Grik's cockpit, but keeps mindful of the Hhriss on his tail. Zing Zing Zing, "Take this kitty," he says as he launches the firecracker of pain. Zing Zing, "Damn Hhriss!" He says as he attempts to avoid more rounds eating into his shields.

To remain well informed of the battle, a Stiletto piloted by James had been sent to tag along behind the TCS Cook remaining as stealthy as possible and sending back a few brief burst transmissions over the course of the fighting.

James had finally decided enough was enough and after a final burst transmission to the Majestic he kicked his targeting system on and his sensors to active before swinging towards one of the enemy fighters "Surprise kitties." he mutters as he prepares to engage.

Mere seconds after releasing his missile, Walsh is alerted to the fact that a Hhriss has chosen to be his playmate. As in, putting holes in his fighter. Not being a fan of experiencing explosive decompression, he shifts his attention further towards having holes -not- put in his fighter. Jinking. The good ol' figure-eight motion with the stick. Plain ol' evasion. Somewhere in the mix, he manages to do something con… er, -de-structive, launching another missile.

The fight quickly turns sour for the cats as James rushes in and sends the Lead Hhriss to kitty hell. Bomber 1 takes a critical hit to its right wing before it can launch its torpedo. The resulting and surprising loss of the wing sends it verring into the second bomber, which combined with damage from Paz's imrec causes both bombers to explode. Unfortunately, the second and third bombers were able to fire their torps and the second bomber's succeeding in hitting the TCS Cook's cargo area doing some damage. Bomber 3 also takes a nasty serious hit from Mercury. While her wingman Firewall's heatseeker lands square in the third's Hhriss lap. Overall, the cats are down to two Drakhri, a Sartha, a Grikath, and a Hhriss that is still tailing Phillip.

"Damage report!" Jane Auldwell screams. "That last torpedo caused a small hull breach in our Cargo Bay…Shieeeellldss are holding, ma'am," responds the second in command while checking readouts. "Excellent, and the bombers?" "Two down, one more heavily damaged," the XO responds. "Gunners, bring that bomber down," she orders through her ship.

Paz catches the flash of the Hhriss' attack on Phillip just after she watches her imrec make hash out of one of the Grikaths. «Iceblade, Tizona, sound off! Say your status, over?» she calls, a note of concern in her tone. Spotting Cutlass' advent, she gives a bit of a grin. «Welcome to the party, Cutlass.» she notes happily. «Linebacker Flight, Lead, Iceblade, Cutlass, mop up that last Grikath. Everybody else, let's splash those two Drakhris, I'm on the Hhriss.» she instructs, flipping her ship onto it's belly and making a spiral dive towards the Hhriss that was after Phillip. "Buenos Dias, Senor Kitty." she grins coldly, lining up the craft in her sighs and squeezing the double triggers. "Nap time."

James smiles as he opens his comm «Hi everyone, and just how many Hhrisses have I pried of off you Tizona? I told you carrying catnip was a bad idea.» As he swings around for an attack run on the last Kilrathi bomber guns blazing.

Still heading for that Sartha, Foster gets ready to fire again. It's kill or be killed here it would seem.

Iceblade's dumbfire succeeds in taking care of the bomber in a rather curious way. Zing, Crush. WEAVE. Phillip immediately checks his Rapier's damage, «Really barely scratched me you damn kitty.» he taunts the Kilrathi Hhriss as he attempts to evade its continued pursuit. «Tizona, Iceblade here, just lost a bit of paint. I'll do what I can on the bomber» he radios to Paz in response. "One more FF, let's see what I can do with it," Phillip says as he switches missiles and burns in zigzag fashion toward the third bomber. "Closer" *Zing* Closer" *Zing* «Fox One» Phillip fires the missile as he passes close to the bomber.

Doing his best impression of a fish out of water seems to have worked out for Walsh, dodging the shots fired at him, and setting his pursuer up for an explosive ending. «Thanks for the assist, whoever that was!» He wasn't really paying attention to who else was shooting at each other. With his tail clear, he's free to dispense some more of his special brand of love toward the Kilrathi.

In a spectacular conclusion, the last Hhriss finds himself the target of no less than three fighters (of different kinds even). Firewall's mass driver and particle cannon fire rip holes into the Hhriss' guns while Walsh's mass driver rounds wear down the cockpit's minimal protection allowing for an easy insertion by an imrec to the groin with love from Paz. The Hhriss's missile didn't even survive the launcher's destruction leaving Phillip no worries about an imrec up the rear. The last bomber receives similar treatment with guns damaged by rounds from Mercury's array of cannons followed up by some intimate mass drivers shots to the bomber pilots face and chest and elsewhere with Phillip's FF missile being the finisher providing the Kilrathi with an humiliating end. Both Hellfire and Elixir rip up the remaining two Drakhri with no further damage in return. And finally Foster's personal battle with the remaining Sartha ends with a heat seeker through the nostril and up the nose of the Kilrathi damaged bird.

«No further targets in the area.» Jane Auldwell reports quickly without any thanks whatsoever as the Ship immediately attempts to become as stealthy as possible.

"Adios, Senor Kitty." Paz says as she watches her last imrec tear through the Hhriss' cockpit. "Vaya con Dios, mi ami." she snerks coldly as the enemy craft disintegrates. Then, no sooner than it began, it's over, looking around her, all she sees is empty space and her sensors are only picking up friendlies. Crossing herself and blowing out a sigh of relief, Paz checks the condition of her ship, then keys her mic. «Linebacker Flight, Lead, Say your status and fuel state, over.» she calls. «Frontline Lead, Linebacker Lead, hell of a job out there.» she says, her grin evident in her tone. «If anybody's looking for a transfer, the Minutemen'd be happy to have you.» she adds teasingly. «Cook, Tizona, Copy that. Standby one until I have an account of my flight's fuel state, over.»

Iceblade feels his fighter racked by the nearby explosion of several missiles on the cat bomber. "Hmm..Strange, no more zing-zing from Mr. Riss-Riss," Iceblade says as he pulls his fighter in a loop to find that the Hhriss is down. In fact, the scopes are completely clear. «Iceblade here, looks like that was it. And my status is *Phillip pauses to double check* essentially green. As for fuel, ah, no allowance for detours.» Phillip radios.

«Roger that Linebacker Lead, heck of job you folks pulled off. Frontlinemen, report your status please.» Firewall radios as he and his flight pull into formation with the TCS Cook.

James smiles as his rounds punch through the cockpit of the last bomber «Scratch one.» he calls over the comm <And my fuel is at about 40 percent afterburner, 60 percent main.»

«Mercury here, a bit roughed up and I got something pinching me in the back. My ship is definitely missing some armor, but it still is in pretty good shape.» Aeneas reports.

«Elixir here, I've lost a mass driver cannon and my particles aren't exactly the most reliable at the moment. Otherwise, I'm in pretty good shape.» Amrita radios.

«This is Hellfire, the nose of my Raptor is torn to shreds and my sensors are iffy at best. Mininial damage elsewhere, though.» Martin responds.

Well, in the end it might not be a hat-trick in the strictest sense, but that is the third Kilrathi cockpit wrecked by Walsh's guns today. Not to mention the missile that followed soon after. Needless to say, that one's a write-off. As the battle dies down around him, he takes stock. «Tizona, Ozone. Got a bit of a nose job. Not much 'burner juice left either. No worries otherwise.»

After several minutes of homeward travel, «Football group, Majestic. Report your status?» the TCS Majestic radios to the fighter group centered around the TCS Cook.

«Majestic, Linebacker Lead, status is five by five.» Paz says, grinning to herself. «We're out bound on a low-consumption route, ETA, fifty minutes.» she reports, settling back in her couch for the trip home. «Cook, Linebacker Lead, we are five by five, and we are outta here. Put something nice in those guys on the batteries' stockings. They done good.» she notes. «Okay, folks, form up and let's head home.»

«Excellent job Football. Sending homeward route to TCS Cook now. Oh and Shadow was a home run.» The Majestic responds with a quick somewhat coded message to inform Football of the strike groups complete success.

James opens the commline «I can't decide if I want to nap on the way home or catch up on my reading so I'll nap halfway there and read the other half once we hit autopilot.»

After listening to the Majestic's message, it is quite clear to Iceblade that plan was a total success. «Wow, I bet the cats never knew what hit them.» he radios joyfully.

«I'll be damned!» Walsh transmits sarcastically. «Something actually went off right? Pinch me, I'm dreaming.» And they didn't even have to sneak or dodge rocks to do it…

«~chuckles~ Okay, okay, let's cut the chatter, people, remember, we are /radiating/.» Paz notes. «Dibs on the head, and the first round in First and Last's on me.» she calls, pointing her little Rapier towards the Majestic's position and settling in for the cruise home.

Iceblade radios with big smile on his face (though it isn't easy to see with the helmet), «I'll drink to that.»

Drink? Drink! «Alcohol sounds just the ticket!» Walsh says enthusiastically, then groans as he remembers the restrictions. «Even if we have to riot to get the good stuff.»

The "Football" group winds its way back to the Majestic without incident or even with any tailing cats. All pilots spent the trip home with elation in their hearts for finally the Majestic had reached a turning point in the Battle of Rygannon. Every pilot was able to relax a bit on the trip back and when they finally returned, the only complaint came from Iceblade who had to be toed down to the flight deck by a Sabre cause he ran out of fuel as he was about to enter the landing pattern.