Ambush For Pirate Raiders
Ambush For Pirate Raiders
Arc: None
Summary: A trap is set for pirate raiders but the plan doesn't survive contact with the enemy.
Date: 2658.158
Related Logs: None
Participants: Jenthson Maximilian Paz Phillip Trey

The pirates have adapted to the arrival of the Majestic, being far more selective in their targets, and simply not raiding as frequently as they had before the carrier entered Regallis. And, that has led to some new tactics on the part of the Confederation forces. Not everyone can afford escorts through these systems, and they've taken to using this to their advantage. This is their first attempt at a honeypot for the bandits.

Pip's Rapier is powered down, save for life support, and reserve systems. Snugged into the cargo bay of a retrofitted, and remodeled Drayman, along with the rest of pilots assigned to this mission, it is a tight fit, but not -terribly- so, thanks to the huge space set aside for cargo on these giant cargo-carriers. The pilots have been ordered to maintain radio silence, and their ride is just now limping slowly through the edges of an asteroid field, as if en route for the Junction jumppoint. The Drayman's reactor has been limited, to appear as if she's taken damage, and carbon scoring has been added to her already mottled titanium hide. Who knows if the pirates will take the bait?

"Ground control to Major Tom…." Paz sings to herself, "Ground control to Major Tom…Take your protein pills and put your helmet on." she croons in her usual drain-cleaner inspired voice. There's nothing quite like sitting in a powered down ship with all of its systems off except for life support and reserves for boring. The only thing keeping the young pilot awake's the singing. "Should've brought my frickin' music man," she notes to herself, looking around at the fighters around her. "Heh, or a porno…this is the one time I don't have to try and play it off like I was just yawning."

"So, Trey Rodgers," asks Trey Grayson of himself. "Let's take this opportunity to take stock of your life up until this point." He flies the ship perfectly straight, staying in formation. "You're 23 years old, no family, you've conned your way in to the military because Roman Lynch has personally placed a bounty on your head for over a million credits because you ruined his stupid operation. If the Kilrathi don't kill you, the mafia will. And if they don't get you, Big Ears will shoot you out the air lock if he finds out the truth." He drums his fingers over the console. "Only person who knows is the hot chick in the ship about a hundred meters away, and you still own one hundred and thirtyseven yo-yos. I'd say mom would be proud if she hadn't put you up for adoption."

Perched in his Stiletto, Captain Maximilian Barta leans back as much as is possible in a rather cramped fighter cockpit. This is a freshly-hatched bird, still with that new Stiletto smell, replacing the one Maximilian cracked up on his last patrol and waiting for an awfully long time for him to get out and put it into action. Now, he is spending this 'action' sitting in a cargo bay hoping against hope something will happen.

Looking through his heads-up display, Maximilian sighs. Quietly. Longingly. Gloved fingers tap on cockpit glass, beating out a staccato pattern to some folk tune, the drum of his fingers the only sound in the abnormally quiet, underpowered Stiletto.

Phillip is sitting in his Rapier with a stack of magazines: Firearms of the Future Special Edition; Warrior Scientists; and the Majestic's own monthly periodical. He is currently browsing through the article about the Battle of Junction. He gives a yawn, "Old news," he says as he chuckles to himself.

Pip, for his part, is sipping from his beaten up old flask, and relaxing as he has been unable to since he took the new position. It is likely that the Wing Commander assigned himself to this mission for the sole pleasure of uninterrupted silence, scotch, and a complete lack of excitement. It is unlikely that the pirates would be stupid enough to attack a battle-damaged freighter limping through -their- territory, not appearing as if it is really trying to hide, isn't it?

The cargo hold lights up, red fixtures activating, and indicating that there are contacts approaching with possible hostile intent. This warning is followed up by a rumble, and a shake, as the SS Rey De Los Pollos takes weapons fire from the indicated contacts. Well. There goes the fun. Flask is tucked away, and helmet is closed and sealed, before the Rapier's reactor is kicked into full gear….«<Damnit. I didn't think this plan would -work-. Launch, just like we practiced. Iceboy, keep Jericho company, you've got his wing.»> Serves the old crotchety Jerry bastard right. And, then Jenthson's starfighter is slipping out of the bay, into a more or less unknown situation.

«Check ignition and may God's love be with you.» Tizona calls, tapping out a quick start command into the ship's computer. The Rapier comes to life around her like a napping tiger that's just been kicked in the privates. A moment later, she's throttling up and roaring out of the bay. «Pollos, Lead, Tizona, clean launch, forming up.» she calls.

«Well look at the bright side.» suggests Rogue while powering up his fighter. «At least we got a -really- good preflight check in. I think I swallowed my gum. Green for launch. Punching it.» He launches his craft out, hitting maximum thrusters for just a second, and then leveling off while he forms up on the leader.

"Oh, yes, give me a babysitter." Maximilian knows better than to transmit that part, instead mumbling it bitterly to himself as he toggles and his Stiletto bursts into life, the fighter rousing itself like an avenging angel. «Jericho away,» he says as he bursts from the freighter, bringing himself up to speed and dropping into formation with near-perfect piloting efficiency.

«Possibly they're stupid enough to fall into an obvious trap. Possibly they're luring us into a cunningly-laid trap.» Maximilian offers his own advice, without further comment, as he brings his missiles to bear and eyes his screens, looking for targets with a glum expression and a practiced eye.

Phillip turns a few pages and sees an article titled: "Flighty Romances: Destined to Crash and Burn or True Love Amongst the Stars." Iceblade just shakes his head and grins at the title. As he begins to read the article, the red lights in the hold turn-on. Iceblade initiates startup sequence and quickly stuffs his mags into his seat. Iceblade then prepares his fighter for takeoff. After systems come online, he comms, «Lead, Iceblade here. Online and launching now.» Iceblade follows Max's Stiletto out of the hold, «Jericho, this is Iceblade. Forming on your wing.»

Just a few seconds after the last of the military starfighters have cleared the Drayman, a dumbfire missile impacts its fuel-cell, and the entire ship goes critical, sending a shockwave into the entire flight's aft shields, and tossing their ships about, prior to their joining the dogfight. The first few moments of combat, are as usual, chaotic, with a sizable pirate force bearing down on the now ride-less Confederation force. Once again, Regallis' hive of scum and villainy seems to have produced a large, talented foe.

«<Farewell King Chicken, I shall miss you.»> A lamentation for their fallen Drayman, and Pip's diving into the fight, his first burst tearing a bit of plating off of a Talon's hull. «<I don't know if this qualifies as a trap, Jericho…but we -aren't- doing so well. IR away!»> An image recognition missile drops off of his rack, and streaks in toward his target….even as another enemy paints his six with ineffective weapon's fire.

«Attention Psycho Assholes.» broadcasts Trey while punching the afterburners. A little distance is what the guy needs, and that's what he gives himself. «We couldn't help but notice that you guys aren't showering. You know, it's pretty bad when we can smell you through the cold vacuum of space.» He gets lock. He gets tone, and he fires at one of the pirate scimitars. It smashes into the hull and tears pieces off of the enemy craft, though one of the pirate transports manages to tear a few pieces off of him, as well. «I'm not trying to tell you your business. I just think you should consider a little soap and water if you live through this. I just said it, but everyone else was thinking it.»

Maximilian's first shot strikes true but the Talon keeps flying, and with a minced oath the captain spurs his Stiletto onto further exertion. An enemy Scimitar brings itself to bear but Maximilian keeps his eye on his current target, mouthing a combination of profanity and more helpful tips as he tries to bring one of those heat-seeking missiles down the enemy's tailpipe once again.

"This time," Maximilian murmurs off-radio. "This time." A tapped button, a missile away, and then the executive officer of the 221st split-arses like a madman, abandoning dignity in preference for hopefully getting away from that awfully ominous Scimitar.

Phillip notices that the combat is very quickly joined, so he burns out at full and lets loose his FF missile. Unfortunately, the Pollo explodes behind Iceblade knocking his Rapier around a little. "Crap!" Iceblade says as he quickly regains control of his ship. Due to the explosion, incoming fire of Talon manages only a glancing blow on Iceblade's rear armor. Unfortunately, the Talon manages to evade Phillip's missile. Iceblade comes about and turns his attention to Max's Stiletto, which is now being pursued by a Scimitar. Iceblade quickly sets his sights on this target and locks on with an IR missile. PING. The lock is gained and Iceblade fires, «Iceblade, Fox one.»

"Fuck me!" Paz shouts as the Pollos detonates like an atom bomb behind her. The blast itself, contrary to your average science fiction show, doesn't jostle her fighter in the slightest, but her rapid maneuvering to escape a white-hot storm of debris flying at her posterior at Holy Mary KPH does. Her missile lock holds as long as it can, but the targeting computer finally gives up just before she pulls the trigger. Fortunately, the fellow nipping at her heels has the same problem and a shot that might've done her serious damage pings like a handful of ball bearings against a steel plate. Her face grimly set, Paz heats up her second friend or foe and starts making all the right motions to regain weapons lock.

His first missile of the engagement tears into an Orion that was likely planning on boarding the Drayman, before it turned out to be a mini-carrier, but Pip's rather more concerned with the rather nasty hit that he spotted the Pilot Formerly Known As Sloppy take to the cockpit. «<Rogue, you still breathing, back there?»> Craning his neck, searching for friendly, he yanks his Rapier hard to port, and comes back around on the gangly, crippled Orion that he'd been facing, dropping his last IR missile in an attempt to kill the son of a bitch….«<I really hate fucking pirates. We're doing this Royal Navy style, lads. No prisoners, since we don't have yardarms to hang them from.»> Was that transmitted over open channels? Sure was. Fitting enough, giving his accent, too.

This didn't quite go as planned. «Yeah, so…» He dodges neutron cannons from the transports, pulling his craft around and either someone gets a lucky shot, or he makes a mistake, or something, but a shot manages to blow directly through his cockpit. «Aw maan.» is the last thing he says prior to ejecting. His craft effectively fireballs with him shooting directly out of it. He doesn't make further sounds. There are lifesigns, but none of them are audible. Trey is out cold.

This is all starting to get a little _too_ entertaining for Paz's taste. First, the missile that seemed fair poised to fly straight up the Orion's tailpipe impacts on its cargo section thanks to a little clever maneuvering on behalf of its irritatingly awake and observant pilot. Then she gets a glimpse of Trey's ship taking a beating that causes her heart to skip a beat or two, having taking a particle weapon in the cockpit her own self once in the not too distant past. A flash comes from his exploding ship, and Paz's eyeballs barely have time to register the image of Trey's unconscious form ejecting. «Shit! Lead, Tizona, taking up position over Rogue's ejection vector,» she calls, switching her weapons to Neutron and giving the Orion one last go before vectoring away to cover her friend.

Another well-aimed missile, and Maximilian's sky is filled with mass driver fire but his fighter escapes quite unharmed. The grim captain could almost smile if he didn't see that Talon continuing through space. And his expression drops even further when he sees a plume of red to his starboard, recognizing what was once one of the good guys, seeing the ejector seat and yet not at all being consoled. For once, Maximilian actually swears aloud. «Shit.»

Darting towards the Talon one more time, Maximilian brings up his last heat-seeker, continuing to jack-knife through space and ducking the mass drivers. «Keep that Scimitar off of me,» he declares, staidly. «I'm going to stroke this Talon then bear around and dogfight the night away.» He makes it sound so simple, so calmly firing his missile and even his frantic evasion maintaining a certain element of control.

Max's Scimitar tail finds its prey very difficult to hit, this is only made even more difficult by a full-broadside hit with Ice's missile, which rips into the main body of the Scimitar causing serious damage. Iceblade keeps his Rapier swinging around, dodging each blast from the Talon towards his rear. Even with his pursuer, Iceblade maintains his focus on the damaged Scimitar following Jericho, switching to full guns and letting loose with multiple bursts of hot death. In a calm yet saccharine voice, Iceblade taunts, «Don't worry little Scimitar, death will take away all this nasty heat.»

«<It seems that perhaps, you should be the ones concerned with prisoners, Federales. Not in the taking of them, of course.»> A thick latin accent fills their speakers, coming from the lead Orion, which it should be noted, is -not- engaging in combat. It, and its wing partner are clearly on an intercept course with Trey's ejection pod. That could be a very, very bad thing. Max's destruction of the Talon leader merely has the one currently engaging Tizona redirect its attention, as it would appear that Jericho is the greater threat, at this given moment.

«<Tizona, let's splash that Orion before Rogue gets a new home.»> Which, if his own target is any indicator, is rather easier said than done. It has eaten -two- of his missile, and is still limping along toward Rogue's pod. His own tail is ignored, as he continues to easily evade the mass drivers tracing his every course correction, half-rolling as projectiles tear through space where his port wing was, moments before. A burst of his guns is directed toward the dying Orion.

<Copy that, Lead.» Paz calls, an icy ball forming in her stomach as she watches the two Orions make for Trey's ejection pod. «S, pero primero, you' VE consigui guardarme de soplar su asno fuera del cielo, puto.» she mocks the pilot.

One enthusiastic fist-pump as the Talon leader goes up, and Maximilian gets back to work. Bringing his fighter around, Maximilian eyes the tail-end Talon which had been giving Phillip such grief until his HUD lights up - bloody hell, another one coming his way. For a moment, the captain flies on in silence, examining his readouts, his tongue tucking into his cheek for a moment as he determines strategy.

«Iceblade,» the captain says, calmly as you please, «my fighter's fine, you're getting hit, and we need to keep as many of these bastards off Pip and Tizona as possible. Turn around and take care of what's on you. I can look after my own backyard for a bit.» The Stiletto kicks about on Maximilian's command, thundering after a Talon, mass drivers blazing into life.

Phillip takes a few well placed hits in different places doing only moderate damage overall, but this has caused Ice to only manage a few glancing blows on the Scimitar's rear. Iceblade gives the Scimitar a parting gift of an FF and begins to evade to his tail. Iceblade begins to dodge the pesky Talon on his tail. A missile warning sounds and Iceblade afterburns away. Then Iceblade drops a few decoys as he rolls to the left and gives a few more bursts of afterburners.

These really -are- good pirates, and they fly with a style that indicates that at least the Talon pilots, have prior military experience. They're covering one another, and engaging the greatest visible threats. The undamaged Scimitar managed to loose a dumbfire that arches perfectly into Lady Jane Grey, ending the Rapier's combat career after a rather short time….and sending LTCOL Jenthson ejecting into space, with him calling out into his radio…«<Fuck you, buggers. Killed your friend, didn't I?»> Followed by a cackle of laughter that is cut short. What cuts it short? Orion-1's tractor beam latching on in passing.

«Pip, Pip! Sound off!» Paz calls as she spots Jenthson's ship take a terrible whallop. It's almost enough to take the joy out of seeing the lead Orion's engine's all but detonate as her missile finds a sweet spot. Somebody's busy inside that cockpit right now. Making it a lot easier for her to line up her next shot. «Flight, Tizona.» she calls as she does so. «Keep those Talon's off of us! Soon as this fucker's dead, I'll be able to turn and join you.» she adds. «Just give us a couple heartbeats…» she adds, squeezing the trigger the moment her HUD flashes SHOOT!

The Orion is silent, flaking hull debris, and other bits of ship off that are narrowly missing the ensnared WingCo, as he is reeled in on the tractor beam. The pirate transport is fleeing as fast as its stubby little legs will carry it, and manages to entangle Rogue en route to the edge of the combat zone, as it were. «Kill us, kill your friends, cabrona!»>

A brief burst of mass driver fire, thumping ineffectively into the Talon's armour, and then Maximilian has to corkscrew out of the firing line, a missile and a streak of gunfire caressing the space his Stiletto once occupied. Three fighters break off undamaged and everybody lines up to try again.

«Shit,» Maximilian adds as the lieutenant-colonel goes for an involuntary spacewalk, thumping his helmeted head into his chair in almost-silent frustration. Angling about for another run at his Talon, Maximilian tries to scythe between his irritatingly accurate and even-more-irritatingly multiple enemies. «Tizona, we'll give you as long as we can but we're running out of pilots over here,» the captain states, levelly. «If you think you can take out the Orion without killing our men, do so. If not…» there's a heartbeat, «do you have enough room to break his tractor beam by flying into it?»

The missile takes the bait and explodes into the decoy heat signature. Phillip sighs as he comes about on his Talon tail. Iceblade lines up onto the Talon's cockpit and lets loose with his last FF missile before turning away from the target to avoid heavy damage. The current situation then processes through Phillip's head. "SHIT" «Somebody alert the Majestic of the situation.»

"Shit!" Paz swears, checking her fire just in time to watch the damaged Orion speed away. A wave of blood-red rage washes over the young fighter jock, followed by a kind of peaceful stillness. She has to let the ship go, but she doesn't have to like it. «Pongo no el cuidado adonde usted va, o hasta donde usted vuela. Le encontrar, mi amigo. Encontrar que usted y yo le mataremos. Usted me entiende, seor? Le buscar para tragar. En fecha este momento, usted nunca ser seguro otra vez.» she radios coolly to the retreating fighter. «Right…Let's mop these shitheads up and get back to the barn.» And with that, she retargets the nearest Talon and goes back to work.

The remaining crippled Orion disappears from view, still visible on scanners, of course…but not for long. On the upside, it doesn't look like it will be able to go far, which should make tracking it down not impossible. The remaining fighters appear convinced that they can actually win the fight, though…and continue to spread their fire across multiple targets.

And, the fight continues to go somewhat awry, Sure, Paz manages to send one of the Talon pilots to meet his maker, but she also is impacted by another nasty dumbfire missile. The remaining pilots continue to fight as a team, with a pair ganging up on Phillip's Rapier.

Phillip was unable to avoid a hit by the Talon's IR missile, but the damage was manageable. Iceblade is starting to get really pissed, so he turns onto the Talon and aims his IR missile right at the Talon's cockpit. «Take this you FUCKER.» Iceblade screams and he barrels into the Talon and lets loose his missile.

A few of Maximilian's shots find their mark in the Talon before he has to once again dance for his life, but he does get the satisfaction of watching Paz shred his adversary in a hail of missile fire. Only to see her take a missile straight on and he flinches, instinctively… but no, there she is, somehow still flying. «Nice shot,» Maximilian says, and maybe there's just the slightest tone of relief hidden in his voice. His own HUD is quiet, his fighter quite unmolested in spite of flying through a veritable avalanche of hellfire. With more than a moment to think for once, he actually takes his time selecting a new target.

When Maximilian does plunge back into the fray, it's against the leader of the Scimitars making a beeline for what's left of Paz's fighter. "Let's see if I can actually hit something with these for once…" he murmurs, putting on more engine power and roaring after the Scimitar, mass drivers barking their hateful tune.

BOOM! The Scimitar's missile hits the main body of Paz's ship like a freight train, spewing shrapnel through its cockpit, an unfortunate amount of which seems to find its way into her soft, tanned little bod. The pain is exquisite, the shock nearly taking her down before she can recover her senses to find her cockpit shrieking caution and warning alarms. Snarling a curse, Paz breaks off the engagement but not before taking a pot shot at the Scimitar that tried to kill her.

"Fuck…" Paz growls, looking down at the spreading bloodstain on her chest with an appraising eye. It's bad, but not _horrible_. Bad enough to make her think twice before firewalling her throttle and pulling a high-g, twisting turn back into the furball. "Oh…shit…yeah…yeah…" she mewls in pain. "Yeah, that hurts…ooooh…yeah, that hurts like a motherfucker….Madre Dios, but that hurts," she grunts before looking back on the Scimitar and switching to her Neutrons.

Thanks to the weapon system damage, the onboard computer has a momentary glitch and looses lock just as Phillip fires his last missiles. "FUCK" Iceblade screams as the Talon lays in a few hits on Iceblade. The damage is only moderate. Just a missile warning flares on and Iceblade tries to avoid it. A quick left turn results in the heatseeker hitting the Rapier's good side and only ripping off some armor. Iceblade is not a happy camper. He comes about and locks onto the Talon's tail and letting loose with full guns hoping to do some engine damage.

A few effective shots, but the Scimitar moves effectively and Maximilian's shooting only manages to cause some light damage to his pirate enemy. A low whistle. He's working the angles and trying to keep the Scimitar off Paz, but more to the point he's just trying to get behind a pilot who seems to be utterly inferior aside from the fact that for whatever reason Max can't just blast him to hell and gone.

Seeing Paz turn towards the Scimitar leader as well, Maximilian smiles, swinging up and opening up his mass drivers again, trying to catch this irritating pilot between the hammer and the anvil.

The fight is not going as well as it once did for the pirates, but it isn't going -that- poorly, either. With two of them showing fairly serious damage, the three pilots focus fire on the Phillip, as he nearly shredded what appears to be the most talented of the small group of criminals. Heat seekers are released from the Scimitars, while the Talon remains attuned to full-on attack, using its guns.

Phillip manages to land some well placed hits on the Talon's engine nearly crippling the enemy fighter, but a second heatseeker from the Scimitar throws Phillip off his target. Luckily its shields managed to reduce the damage somewhat. The Talon does, however, come about and make a quick pass at Iceblade only knocking a few small pieces of armor. In the classic rinse and repeat, Iceblade loops around and locks hard onto the Talon's tail to knock the sucker out.

A few scraping hits off the Scimitar, but nothing effective and Paz's shots go wide entirely. A German oath fills the Confed broadcast channels, Maximilian squeezing out a few ineffective shots and managing to trace a lovely pattern through space around the first Scimitar. «Are my guns not calibrated properly?» he exclaims in horror. «This is an inferior pilot. Why can I not hit him?»

A deep breath and Maximilian pats the instrument board of his Stiletto as if providing some positive reinforcement. «Iceblade, they're coming after you, mind your evasive.» Still unassailed by enemy fighters himself, Captain Barta closes his eyes, takes his time, tries to finally… -finally!-… bracket his Scimitar, and squeezes his trigger.

"Fuck.." Paz grumbles as her first volley goes wide, tickling the power on her ship just a little as she backs off a hair to draw a finer bead on the rampaging Scimitar of Doom. She tries to radio Max with an idea, but finds her comms either unable, or just unwilling to transmit, and she's way too busy and too hurt to futz with them right now. Eventually, said bead is drawn and her finger gives the trigger a vengeful squeeze.

Two badly damaged starfighters, and a pristine wingman versus two -crippled- starfighters and a pristine wingman. This has gotten to be a very nasty, and very interesting fight. Warheads mostly expended, a knifefight of mass drivers, and lasers has continued to grow as cripples face crippled in a no hold's barred slapfight.

Phillip manages to dodge one of the heatseekers, but the Scimitar that has been tailing him is now right on top of him and launches an HS right into his head doing serious damage and resulting in Iceblade's guns going dormant. Iceblade manages to bring his craft under control through the searing pain in his head, but he is effectively out of the match. He goes evasive as best he can and burns toward home. Assuming his nav-computer is still functional.

The Scimitar leader bears in to attack Phillip and, perhaps distracted by the way he's being shot at from all sides, he shoots wide. Maximilian's concentration, on the other hand, pays dividends, as with satisfying heavy crashes his mass drivers peel into the centre of his enemy, who… breaks off and flies away, seemingly only a little worse for wear.

The captain's head drops, sadly, straightening up only slightly as he notices that he is becoming a target once again. Phillip's fighter is somehow still flying. Maximilian is in great shape but the enemy seems determined to change that.

«Flight, if either of you are still with me…» as the senior officer left on the scene Barta is a bit lost for a moment, but, eventually, he finishes his thought. «Discretion is the better part of valour. If you have a chance to run for it, take it.» His Stiletto still without so much as a dinged paint job, Maximilian continues to attack. Attack. Always attack.

So this is how it ends, some part of Paz's brain begins to ponder. A knife fight in the ass end of nowhere with a bunch of pirates. And, really, it's not so bad, all things considered. She's done her best, certainly more than she's ever thought she could. Max's squelchy call of 'break off' is heard, but not obeyed, not with Iceblade's ship all but decapitated. No way she's going to lose someone else tonight, unless it's herself. "Okay, amigo." she breathes, ignoring the dizziness and shock threatening to overcome her as she lines up a 'Hail Mary' for the lead Scimitar. "My soul's prepared….how's yours?" she says, crossing herself with her free hand before pulling the trigger.

The fight continues, with Paz managing to hit, but not harm her target, though Max finally takes some damage, leaving the fight even more in the pirates favor. Phillip's retreat is slightly slowed by the damage to his control interfaces, but the Talon's shredded engines are unable to remain on his six for very long, merely allowing it fire a few departed and missing short shots of weapons fire at the Rapier before it leaves the combat area.

Maximilian flies, and fights, and his barely-unwrapped fighter takes a firm but non-critical shot to the wing. It steers him just off-course enough that he fires wide on the Stiletto leader, jerking his head around the cockpit as he sees Phillip suck back another rough hit from the Talon. Swinging around again to go after the lead Scimitar, Maximilian actually throttles -up-, as if trying to level affairs in one sharp, sudden stroke.

«Tizona,» the captain declares, «I know you can hear me.» He doesn't know that, of course, but if she can't, no harm done. «One of your squadron-mates and our wing commander are both in the hands of the enemy. We need pilots in good order to rescue them. My fighter is in superb condition. I will cover both of your retreats and follow myself. The time for heroism is coming. There is no good you can do here by dying.»

The Talon manages one last blast at Iceblade's Rapier. The shot hits home doing some damage to Iceblade's controls system. Through sheer will, the fighter soldiers on home. Quite a few klicks later, Phillip is out of the combat zone. Iceblade is barely able to cut off the burners as he tracks for home….at least the Chemist had enough of an interest in astronomy to know how to plot a course home. Iceblade is unconscious.

Iceblade and Maximillian barely return her birds to the Majestic with no further kills while Paz was forced to eject. Luckily ResCap was able to pick her up and bring her back to the Majestic.