Beneath the Black Flag
Beneath the Black Flag
Arc: None
Summary: A mission to intercept escaping pirates nearly turns into disaster.
Date: 2658.207
Related Logs: None
Participants: Cole Draygo Paz Kanani

It was hardly an even fight from the outset… the Pirates' improvised defenses around the abandoned mining base might have been enough to scare off the occasional light warship, but they certainly weren't much of a match for a Confederation fleet carrier. Which probably explains why the asteroid base is half-darkened, with a few new craters open from the rocky surface down into the installation hidden beneath. With the majority of the Majestic's fighters drawn to keeping the pirates defenses inoperable and screening the carrier against attack from a different direction, a small force has been positioned on the opposite side of the base to prevent any pirates from making their escape.

« Tell you what, I'm damned glad I'm not on the receiving end of that » Cole comments into his communications as some twitch of movement from one of the base's remaining batteries draws a volley of Antimatter, and one more crater forms on the asteroid's surface.

«Lead, Tizona, Heh, I wouldn't want to be one of those guys for all the whiskey in Ireland.» Paz radios, adjusting her vector slightly to stay on Kanani's wing. «How's it going over there, Tsunami? Enjoying the light show?»

«That makes two of us, Voodoo.» Kanani remarks as her nimble fighter stays in formation with the slower bomber, her eyes glancing over the scanners and checking to see if any pirates are heading their way. «Oh, yeah, Tizona. It's even better than the fireworks back home.» She responds with a chuckle.

« Not sure about all the whiskey in ireland, but I think they're getting half the antimatter in Gemini » Cole comments with a chuckle. « Anyone getting any readings off that rock? Not coming up with anything on my end, but… well, I sure as hell wouldn't stick around and wait for the marines »

«Lead, Tizona, that's a negative, nothing on my scanners so far, but as much energy's getting pumped into that rock, they could have a frickin' _wing_ down there, and we might not see it.» Paz comments, making sure to keep her eyes peeled on the space around them. If she can think of the usefulness of the sensor degradation, there's a chance the enemy has too.

«Lead, Tsunami, I haven't picked up anything either, yet. But like Tizona said. Hard to get good readings with all the shooting going on.» Kanani remarks thoughtfully, as she glances over the scanners, as well as keeping up a more old fashion visual scan for any ships, as well.

Staying in formation, Razor takes a look at his sensors as the question comes through. Like the others, Kell sees nothing on his scanners as of yet, «Sensors aren't picking up anything yet, too much rock in between.» Seems like the protective natural shell is too thick for the Stiletto's sensors to penetrate in to get any sort of reading.

And sure enough, the rats eventually move out from the cage… a pair of Drayman-class transports moving away from a back entrance to the base, escorted by a total of eight Talon-class fighters. Like good miscreants, they two large ships promptly break off in different directions. Nobody ever said the pirates were stupid, after all. « Backstop Lead, this is Majestic. We're picking up two groups of hostiles emerging from the base. Vector to intercept the closer of the two, we'll divert another flight to intercept the other group »

« Majestic, Backstop lead. Acknowledged. » Cole replies, his Broadsword already angling away from the base towards the fleeing Pirates. It's an odd sort of slow-motion chase between Bomber and Transport. « Looks like we get to do more than watch the fireworks show after all »

"About fuckin' time." Paz grins, already coaxing her throttles forward, dumping more power into the business end of her fighter. «Lead, Tizona, tallyho! One Drayman-class transport at five o'clock high. Let's light 'em up.» she calls, her grin evident in her tone. Coolly, she switches her Image Recognition missiles on and warms up their scanners.

«Well, it's about time, wouldn't you all say?» Kanani comments as the order is given to intercept the approaching pirates. Her fighter rolls towards the group of pirates, being careful to stick with the rest of the formation, and not leave the slower ships behind.

Suddenly, the sensors on Razor's Stiletto starts showing multiple blips, eight small red ones and two orange ones. «Contact. Looks like the pirates are running, escorting a couple of buffalos. Time to earn our pay.» Pushing his throttle forward, the Stiletto's triple engine banks glow brightly as the light interceptor surges forward after the hostiles. Flicking his weapon over to Heat Seekers, Kell dives down on one of the Talons and unleashes his first missile once a solid tone is given.

And it doesn't take very long at all for the fight to go from bad to all sorts of crazy. The four talons quickly turn on the Confederation fighters that are chasing, cutting loose with a surprisingly accurate volley of weapons fire. Cole's broadsword sheds chunks of armor in a rather unhealthy fashion, and Paz's fighter isn't left in much better shape.

« Goddamn, this thing looks like a seieve » Cole grumbles. Nevermind the fact that he looks rather like one at the moment himself. « Bringing it around again… not sure how much more of this she'll take » he adds through gritted teeth.

"Oh _NOW_ they decide to bring out their real pilots." Paz growls, frantically chopping power to her malfunctioning engine just long enough to get the RCS jets back under control. The young pilot's cockpit is ablaze with caution and warning lights and her ears ring with various warning tones. «Lead, Tizona, I'm hit plenty, but not out of the fight just yet. Somebody gimme a little cover, if possible.» she radios, kicking her ship into a violently juking turn and squeezing off her second missile the instant she thinks she has a lock.

«You guys alright there?» Kanani asks, in a somewhat concerned tone, as she tries to fire another missile into the talon that's still chasing the heavily damaged bomber. Fortunately she did hit the pirate fairly hard, so she hopes that Cole will be able to avoid any shots thrown out at him.

The first exchange is fierce but brief, explosions and flashing light everywhere as fire is traded on both sides. With his targetted Talon destroyed, Razor quickly banks to the right as he checks the status of the hostiles as well as the friendlies before cursing, seeing the shape that Paz and Cole are in. «Tizona, you have no bogeys on your tail except for the Transport's gunners so watch out for the laser battery!» There is a pause as he angles back down at the Talons, latching onto the Pirate that is chasing after Kanani who is trying to clear Coles tail. «Watch yourself, Tsunami, you have one on your tail. Trying to clear it.» With that said, Razor unleashes a burst of mass driver cannon fire at the Talon.

And in one of those wonderful ironies of combat, as accurate as the first exchange of fire was… the second proves to be nowhere near as brutally effective. A single missile explodes the crippled Talon, while the other shots from both sides merely tear through empty space.

Cole, at least, has an excuse. It's damned hard to shoot with blood in your eyes, and it's harder still when you're struggling to remain conscious and fly a fighter that has more reasons to fall apart than it has to stay together.

Paz has an excuse or six of her own, given that she's got a ship with an engine that is still trying to decide if it wants to run properly, seize up and explode into a million pieces, or just peter out quietly. Deciding that she doesn't have much to lose, Paz firewalls the throttle and yanks hard up on the stick, flicking for her friend or foe missiles as she leads the pipper onto the target.

«Both on you now Tsunami, watch yourself!» Razor calls out the warning to the other Stilleto pilot in his squadron as he cranks up the speed even more, focusing entirely on attacking now instead of half jink and half shooting, causing him to just miss the Pirate his previous attack. Matching the Talon's maneuver easily, he latches onto the hostile's six and unleashes a torrent of cannon fire.

Kanani is at least doing better today than Cole and Paz, despite suddenly finding the remaining Talon's after her. «Thanks for the heads up, Razor.» She calls out, as her fighter starts to dodge and roll, out of their way. She switches her weapons to the mass drivers, and tries to put a few rounds into one of the Talons while she's at it.

« Only one left » Cole comments weakly, as his fighter maneuvers to attempt to remain in the fight… breaking away from the transport for the moment in an attempt to do something (anything!) to allow himself to hit with that last torpedo. « Need a minute… trying to do… something »

Sticking to the Talon, Razor does an inverted roll to stay with the pirate and gets ready to fire another volley of cannon fire though he is distracted by the laser battery fire that is brightening the area around his Stiletto.

Kanani frowns slightly as Voodoo's voice comes over the comm, though she keeps her attention on the Talon that's gone back to aiming at the wounded bomber. Her fighter settles down from its evasive manuvers a bit, to try and get a clear shot on the enemy fighter, while hoping that the Talon still chasing her, doesn't get lucky.

Finally, Paz's engine starts making 'explode-y' noises behind her, forcing her to vector to a relatively clear patch of sky to start pulling breaker panels and trying to get the ship's electronic brains unscrambled. It's a tense moment, but she manages to get it going again, though she nearly sucks up a laser blast from the transport in the process.

Seeing a channce to take the crippled broadsword out of the fight, one of the Talons moves in behind… only to promtly have mass driver rounds chew through the cockpit. The pirate's dying shots fly well wide of the Confederation bomber. The pirate transport continues to lumber on, left with little choice but to continue to flee the dying base… hoping the Confederation runs out of firepower to throw its way before it runs out of escorts.

« Thanks Tsunami » Cole says as the Talon explodes behind him, swinging his bomber around towards the transport for a run with his last torpedo. « Last fish. Hope this one counts… » Cole adds, even as his bomber drunkenly maneuvers behind the Drayman.

«Consiga listo, usted los bastardos!» Paz cries savagely as her ship powers back up and settles down a little thanks to he ministrations. «Aqu viene el dolor!» And with that, she spins back into the fray, diving on the remaining Talon while she flicks over to her guns and lines up on the pirates's cockpit.

Kanani ponders the fight for just a moment, as her shots rip apart one of the Talons, leaving just one more left. Given Cole's bad luck at hitting the Transport, she states, «I'm gonna try and put my last missile into that transport, just incase Voodoo isn't able to. Take care of that fighter, if you guy's would be so kind?»

Another clipping shot, much to Razor's disappointment as he quickly breaks to the right when his target slows and pulls up, avoiding collision. Banking his fighter around, Kell sees that he is now going head on with the Talon pilot, almost a game of chicken. Throttling up, the distance between the two closes quickly and Razor snaps off a shot at the last second before trying to break away from the return fire.

The last torpedo sails harmlessly past the pirate transport, removing the biggest threat to the pirate craft… even as a missile from a Stiletto slams into the large ship and tears away a chunk of hull. The last Pirate fighter continues its desperate attempt to save itself, turning its guns on the Confederation craft that had been harassing it.

« I'm out » Cole reports, unusually terse for him. Especially when it involves going zero for four with his torpedoes on a transport. « Heading… back to Majestic… while I can » he adds, taking an awful lot of effort for those few words. Inside the cockpit, he thumbs his selector switch to his missiles even as he banks away. Might as well get a parthian shot before he disengages. Or passes out.

The head on clash was slightly in Razor's favor but the grazing shot only sheared off some of the Talon's armor, making it look uglier than it is right now. Inverting his Stiletto, Kell pulls up on his flightstick hard into a half roll just in time to see an explosion blossom on the Drayman. «Tsunami, if you're out of missiles, cover me. I have two babies left I can hand deliver to the Drayman, going in.» Ignoring the irritating Talon now, Razor speeds towards the damaged transport and locks onto one of the large engines, firing off a Heat Seeker.

"Dammit!" Paz swears as her first burst goes wide by several meters. "Okay, you little bugger, you're not getting away from me this time." she grumbles, kicking her ship into a lurching retina-detatching reversal as she yo-yo's on the pirate fighter, squeezing off another burst at its belly.

It's a fairly ridiculous sight, a tiny Stiletto charging at a fairly large transport, but it works this time, somewhat at least, as Kanani's missile rips a nice chunk out of the Drayman. With her last missile gone, she switches to her guns again, and aims for the last of the Talon's. «Copy that Razor. Covering you now.» She states, as her fighter rolls to do just that.

The Talon's luck had to run out sometime, really. Another line of mass driver fire walks across the hull, this time into the cockpit… though somehow the pilot miraculously survives. Perhaps looking for a target more on his level, the pirate swings his guns around towards Paz and her busted Rapier.

There's no transmission from Cole's broadsword now, just the (very) slow movement of the shattered bomber back towards the carrier. Broadswords aren't the fastest ships out there at the best of times, and from the large number of missing pieces… calling it 'not the best of times' for Cole's bomber is being awfully generous right now.

It seems like Razor's Heat Seeker didn't have the same effect as Tsunami's as the missile explodes and shreds armor, that's it. The return fire is pretty much ignored as it flashes harmlessly by. «Last missile, launching.» Side stepping the transport, Kell fires his last Heat Seeker at the same engine, hoping this one will punch through somehow.

Paz swears viciously as she watches her well placed rounds turned by the armor on the pirate's belly, and gives its pilot the finger as she swoops past, hurtling up vertically before turning to dive on the Talon's rear end. "Okay, do not, repeat, do not, screw this up!" she tells herself, lining up her shot carefully before squeezing the trigger.

The last of the pirate fighters finally goes away, as gunfire from Paz's rapier tears through the already ruined craft. Another missile impacts the pirate transport, but still it limps on. After all, it doesn't have to win this fight, it only has to survive.

Cole's bomber finally breaks off from the engagement, having lobbed two of its missiles ineffectually towards the transport. There's still no word from the pilot inside it, just the slow plodding away of a crippled craft.

Razor's last Heat Seeker missile manages to punch through the armor casing its engine, exploding but the damage isn't enough to have the Drayman go critical, only dishing out more damage. With a growl of frustration, Kell switches to Mass Driver Cannons and begins strafing the bridge of the transport, no matter how useless it is.

Paz pumps a fist as her already wounded target detonates. "Gotcha!" she grins and heels her craft over to speed towards the transport, fingers keying up her lone remaining missile as she closes in on the ship's massive engines. A friend or foe to one of these might just do the trick.

«Nice shooting, Tizona.» Is Kanani's response to the last of the enemy fighters being destroyed. She then turns her fighter's nose towards the Transport, hoping to at least distract the crew with her gunfire, even if it's unlikely to do any real damage.

And so, the fighters finally do what the bombers couldn't… as a friend or foe missile tracks right into the drayman's turret, setting off a chain of explosions that tears apart the pirate transport.

«Nice shot there, Tizona! Damn Drayman and their armor.» Razor says as he banks away from the destroyed Pirate transport, watching as the debris field begin to grow after the kill. He does take a quick look at his sensors, making sure that there are no hostiles nearby getting ready to jump them.

«Good shooting, once again, Tizona. And at least we got the job done, it looks like. Wasn't pretty, but we did it.» Kanani remarks, her eyes checking her fighters sensors, for any other pirates in the groups immediate location.

Paz finds herself frantically dodging sharpnel for a moment before she's able to clear the area. «Flight, Tizona, couldn't let you guys take _all_ the glory, you know.» Paz chuckles, sighing in relief now that the job's done. «Hadda earn my keep. Everybody okay?»

Giving a quick look at his Stiletto's status, Razor responds, «All green on my board, we should head back and see how Voodoo is doing. His 'Sword looks like it was in pretty bad shape. I don't have anymore running hostiles on my scopes either.»

Kanani checks over her ships status readings, and then reports back, «My board's nice and green too.» She glances around outside of her cockpit at the last bits of exploded transport, and then adds. «Yeah, he seemed pretty beat up, and it doesn't look as if there's much work left to be done here.»

«Copy that, Tsunami, if you'll do the honors.» Paz radios, falling back in on her fellow Minuteman's wing. «Let's go home.«

Paz makes short work of her post-flight and climbs wearily out of her Rapier. "Well, that was…….Heh, I dunno what the hell that was."

As for Cole? Well, the medics have him pretty much right where he exited his broadsword. Or rather, right where he passed out upon exiting his broadsword. See that piece of metal that's sticking through the back of his cracked flight helmet? Well, it probably does a good job of explaining why the Major didn't eject anyway.

Kanani finishes up her post-flight report, and pulls herself out of the cockpit of her fighter once she's finished. A worried glance is given toward the beaten up bomber, as her feet hit the deck, but for the moment, there's nothing she can do about that anyways. She gives a resigned shrug, and heads over towards where Paz is, replying to her probably rhetorical question. "Eh, I don't know what it was either… But we seem to have a lot of bad luck when it comes to running into skilled skum at least."

Paz winces a little as she sees Cole being carried out by the medics, but doesn't point it out for Kanani's sake. "Yeah, no shit." she sighs. "Excuse me, I have _got_ to find a bathroom….They fill you up with coffee and tea, then you get up there and there's no place to go!"

And off the good major gets carted, to get poked and prodded by crazy tree-wielding medics (and their fez-wearing assistants!). He'd doubtless have some sort of witty commentary, but he's too busy drooling.

Kanani chuckles weakly at Paz, and she gives a nod. "Yeah, I know how that goes." She remarks, as Cole is carted out. She sees the medics and all, but she pretends not to, since it's probably easier than acting like a complete wreck or anything.