In The Cleanly Game Of War
In The Cleanly Game of War
Arc: None
Summary: A mysterious signal from an abandoned base draws Confederation and Kilrathi SAR teams to the same place
Date: 2658.248
Related Logs: And Say What The Dust Reveals
Participants: Cole Kanani Maximilian Victoria Ionel Walsh James

The Confederation Space Force is apparently looking for trouble today. A v-shaped flight of five Stiletto light fighters make their way slowly into Nexus' asteroid belt, with a single broadsword bomber tucked neatly inside the formation. The six craft make their way neatly along through the tumbling asteroids, headed for the large asteroid in the distance, where a darkened mining base can be seen.

« Voodoo to Angel Flight, keep your eyes sharp » Cole orders as the craft begin to make their way through the rocks. « The Kilrathi seem to love these goddamn rocks for an ambush point »

Strapped into his usual Stiletto, Maximilian is not in his usual position at the lead of the flight: with the Major along the commander of the 221st has tucked himself neatly into the second position of the formation. Notwithstanding the fact that his is the squadron commander's fighter from the 221st and as such has a gigantic number one painted on the side, Captain Barta seems quite comfortable riding shotgun for a change, watching his instruments rather than watching his fellow pilots.

Well, he's watching his fellow pilots a little. But he'd never admit it.

Back in his office, mounds of paperwork await his attention, but Maximilian flies on with his jaw set and his fighter trim. He wouldn't miss a show like this for all the paperwork in the galaxy.

James is busy muttering curses under his breath and making very sure that is comm is off. "What kind of idiot takes a Landing craft out unescorted in contested space?" He mutters angerily as his gaze alternates between his sensor screen and his viewport.

Kanani flies along in formation with the other fighters of the flight, keeping her eyes open for anything unusual as they all make their way through the asteroids. «Copy that Lead. Keeping my eyes open.» She calls out quickly, before her attention is returned to flying the fighter.

Ionel has her music down relatively low in the cockpit tonight; this seems to require more concentration. She can't do without it entirely, but she doesn't feel the need to blast it right this second. «Copy that,» she replies, keeping her position in the formation with ease. She's got that sense of focus about her again tonight, an intensity that radiates out of her voice even with just two standardized words.

Walsh holds in formation with the rest of the flight, glad to be in on something other than a routine patrol. His eyes alternately scan his radar and the vastness of space beyond. «Copy Lead. Head's on a swivel»

« Right, coming up on the base » Cole comments simply as the massive asteroid slowly grows in front of him, drawing closer and closer. « Once we get in range, I'm going to try and set down, assuming their docking bay isn't a godawful mess. If our people tripped that beacon, I suspect they'll be waiting for a pickup. If our people aren't there, I'm heading out as fast as my engines can carry me. Either way, shouldn't be gone long »

Damn. That. There. One, two, three… enough of them, anyway. Maximilian scowls. «Flight, this is Jericho. I see four Kilrathi fighters around the asteroid.» He frowns, glancing down at his instruments then back up through his window, squaring what he sees with that it means. «If they're trying to ambush us they're not doing a very professional job… are they just patroling?» He glances over his shoulder, to see how many of his fellows have seen the same thing he has - they're not that well-hidden.

«If it's just the four of them, I reckon we can sweep them out if we come in hard.» There's a big emphasis on the "if" there - waiting for his comrades to confirm his read of the situation.

Kanani totally missed the fact that any Kilrathi fighters were around until it was called out by the Captain. She gives a thoughtful hmm to herself before calling out. «They could be checking out the beacon, the same as we are, and don't realize we're here yet. Though I don't suppose it matters much. We need to get rid of them anyways.»

James winces and opens his commline "I haven't picked them up yet sorry boss." That said he narrows the focus of his sensors and says "I'm ready to fight though all systems green."

«I think they're here doing exactly what we're doing,» Ionel murmurs. "The way their formation is sitting, that's what I think. And if we've seen them, at least one of them has probably seen us.» But she'll wait for orders all the same. She even manages to keep from firing a shot too early—but only by snatching her twitching hand back before she can manage to.

Walsh's state of readiness pays off as he spots the glint of starlight reflecting off metal. «Yeah I see 'em too. Looks like the kitties pulled guard duty.» They never make it easy for us fighter jockeys…

Apparently the Kilrathi aren't terribly good guards, either, since they haven't broken off to go after the Confederation fighters yet. Either that, or they're busier worrying about keeping something in than they are thinking about threats from the outside.

« Right. Plan's unchanged on my end, I'm going in and setting down for a look » Cole comments after a moment's thought, his bomber already banking to move away from the formation. « Jericho, it's your show out here. Happy hunting »

Maximilian smiles. Leaning over, he flips a couple of switches, waiting until Cole banks away. «All right, flight. Keep it simple. There's more of us than there are of them and our first priority is to get Voodoo down safe. So we go in fast, drive them away from that asteroid with speed and concentrated fire, and dogfight in open space until either we win or Voodoo is finished.» Maximilian's Stiletto surges forward as the captain slowly increases thrust to execute the 'speed' part.

«And if any of you get shot down, you have to buy drinks tonight.» With that last warning Maximilian waggles his wings and dives in, afterburner blazing as he opens fire at range, more to set the Kilrathi scattering than out of any hope that he'll hit something.

«Copy that, Jericho.» Kanani remarks, as she hits the afterburners on her fighter, and rockets off in the direction of the enemy fighters, hoping that they're not paying attention enough to notice the attack until it's to late.

James hits his throttle and his fighter roars forward as he adjusts his course to intercept the nearest Kilrathi fighter. «Undersood Jericho.» He replies while squeezing off a few ranging shots hoping to spook the cat into dodging into a rock.

«Copy, engaging.» Walsh slams his throttle forward and hits his afterburners, hoping to take the advantage of initiative.

Hitting her thrusters? That's her favorite part of the show. Ionel sets her Stiletto to screaming, pushing forward hard and letting her itchy trigger finger have its fun the moment her weapons are close enough to do some good. The other hand snaps out to turn up the volume on her music. NOW she can have it up loud. "We're going to cause talk and suspicion," she murmurs along, vaguely off key. "We're going to have an exhibition. We're going to find out what it's all about."

The Kilrathi weren't going to stay dumb forever, of course. As the Confederation fighters continue to close, they finally become aware of the threat… breaking from their formation and turning in to engage.

Cole's bomber, meanwhile, continues to angle away from the fighting and towards the docking bay. Trusting the Stilettos to take care of their work, so he can take care of his end of this crazy operation.

Maximilian heats 'em up, getting the attention of the enemy fighters. He doesn't smile, exactly, but he scowls less than usual, seeing his scope light up and for simple expediency picking up the fighter who has, quite unsportingly, decide to shoot at a chubby old man. The poor kitty devil.
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"Darn, I guess they did see us. Oh well." Kanani mutters to herself, as two of the enemy fighters start to try and chase her. Her fighter starts to fly somewhat evasively in order to dodge the encoming shots, as she waits to line up her own shot on one of the cats.

Snapping the stilletto into a roll, Ionel gets herself lined up with one of the ships targetting Kanani. Since nobody seems to have focused on her, she's going to take advantage of this moment to get in some free pot shots. She leans forward, as if leaning forward might give her weapons more power or more accuracy.

James brings his weapons and targetting systems up then shoves his throttle forward, boaring in on the fighter that was targeting Maximillian before unleashing a salvo from his mass drivers.

Closing in on the opposition on full afterburner, Walsh slews his crosshairs towards point of intersection with his target and squeezes off a burst of projectiles.

The first pass between the two groups of fighters goes badly for the Kilrathi, as a heat-seeking missile shatters the second craft in their formation… every fighter coming out with at least some damage. Cole's broadsword disappears from view, lost against the bulk of the asteroid as it moves into position for landing.

« Coming in to land now » Cole reports simply. «Keep me posted if things change out there. If need be, I'll abourt and come back to give you lot a hand »

James watches his shot hit and curses as the shot fails to do any sigifigant damage. Then two enemay fighters turn on him and he curses before snapping off a hurried shot and breaking into an evasive patteren.

Having picked a target, Ionel stays on it doggedly. She ntoes where she scored her hit and just stays on that area, slamming onto the mass drivers again and narrowing her eyes. She doesn't answer the comm, but instead stays about her business of destroying kitty cats.

Maximilian socks it to his target - but not quite hard enough, closing his eyes and wincing even as he nicely corkscrews his away away from the Drakhri's laser fire. «Take it easy, Ozone, I have this one,» Maximilian warns as he sees the two fighters drawing a bead on his young pilot, before his eyes go wide at Kanani's nearly unfortunate encounter - before she comes out of it all right.

«Good shooting, Tsunami,» says Maximilian, and he doesn't even try to hide his relief at not having lost any of his pilots in the first pass.

Kanani gives a quick nod in satisfaction as her guns tear unexpectedly through her target, ripping it into shreds. «Now why can't they all do that?» She ponders out loud, before a laser hit pings off of her ship, causing her to growl in annoyance. She quickly switches to missiles, and then moves into position for a shot on the target, calling out. «Fox 2.»

Walsh Winces as a laser blast slices a chunk of durasteel off the nose of his fighter. Must've got a shot off as he passed by. Regardless, he presses the attack, coming around for another pass.

Two more Kilrathi fighters are obliterated by Confederation firepower, the battle clearly not going very well for the furballs today. Just what those fighters had been holding position /for/ becomes apparent a moment later, however, as a Kamekh corvette makes its way along through the rocks closing in on the base, with three Hhriss in for close escort. Apparently, the Confederation weren't the only ones launching a heavily armed recovery attempt.

« Voodoo to flight. I'm down on the deck. Have a crashed Hercules and two suited friendlies in sight. Making the pickup now » Cole reports from his landed broadsword. The sound of a hatch hissing open can be heard in the background.

«Voodoo, it's Jericho. Please move rapidly.» Even as the squadron commander's fighter rocks with a glancing blow, and even as his missile obliterates one of the enemy, Maximilian is looking out at the corvette and his chums making his way into gunnery ranges. He angles towards the new arrivals, roaring just passed the wreckage of his victim as he does so, kicking the afterburners in once again.

«We just have to keep them back. Just keep them back. I have the new flight's leader.» And Maximilian is as good as his word, bearing in towards the Hhriss, just as aggressive as ever, perhaps hoping to draw fire or perhaps simply trying to splash as many of the enemy as rapidly as posslb.e

On the plus side James pattern of weaves shakes off the laser fire from the two fighters on his tail and they are soon blown off his tail. On the minus side James's shot misses, and to make matters worseboth the last survivor from the original flight and one fighter from the new flight open up on him. He continues weaving only taking the time to snap off a shot at the last Drakhri.

Kanani gives a little sigh, as more cats come into view. Not that it's entirely unexpected of course. Seeing the corvette and it's guns in range, she starts to move evasively again, trying to keep from taking any more damage.

Whipping her ship around again, Ionel hits the thrusters and goes screaming after one of those Hhriss. Baring her teeth, she darts above it and then turns her ship, setting herself perpindicular to the thing long enough to try fire a few shots into it. Of course it could out-maneuver her too. There's always that possibility.

"Why the fuck are my guns loaded with.. oh -fun-." Walsh's tirade about the lack of mass driver effectiveness is cut short by the appearance of several more red blips on his radar. He abandons the fool's notion that his guns are going to help. Toggling to missiles, he breaks off to take a circuitous vector for a rear-aspect shot at one of the newcomers.

The first of the Kilrathi heavy fighters dies as the Confederation fighters turn on them… but there's a whole lot more firepower on the Kilrathi side this time. A volley of flak reaches through space from the Kamekh's guns, smashing into a pair of the Confederation fighters.

« Alright, have our people secure aboard. Coming back out now. What am I looking at out there? » Cole asks curiously. After all, he can't very well see the mess outside from where he's landed inside the asteroid.

«Three fighters, one corvette,» answers Maximilian tersely, trying to duck and weave between the corvette's flak bursts. He doesn't quite pull it off, enduring a solid blow just after he squeezes off his last heat seeker. That, at least, strikes true: the enemy flight leader is spaced almost as soon as he's gotten into action. He keeps trying to windmill through the flak, thundering over Kanani's fighter as she takes it far worse than he did.

«Flight, if you get hit go to Voodoo and walk him out of here. Don't take any chances…» Maximilian cuts himself off as he tries to corkscrew again, avoiding more enemy automatic bursts, «…with this goddamned corvette.» Tabbing over to his guns, he swings around after the still-flying leader of the first escort wing, trying to put away the last Drakhri to have witnessed this entire mess.

Kanani grimaces as her ship is hit badly, and her arm gets some shrapnel as well. She trys to pull away from the Corvette as well as she can, focusing more on getting out of the flak than at shooting anything. «Damn, that didn't do any favors for my fighter…» She mutters with a hint of pain in her voice.

Ionel hates to use missiles before she absolutely has to. Her guns keep replenishing. Her missiles don't have as much fun. Besides, she's still focused on this Hhriss, and she's seeing some damage. She keeps at him, doggedly trying to hit that cockpit a second time.

Walsh is satisfied that his missile at least did something, unlike his peashooter. Would have liked to see a nice colorful explosion, but you can't have everything. He sticks tightly to the rear of the damaged hhriss, waiting to hear a solid tone once more.

James manages to weave through all the enemy fire without taking a hit. He also comes to the conclusion that the last Drakhri needs to die immeditaly and flips around to roar towards it with mass drivers blazing.

The heavier Kilrathi firepower quickly begins to take its toll on the Confederation light fighters… tearing away ugly chunks from two more of the craft, leaving pieces of Stiletto in a slowly growing little crowd around the engagement. That firepower is drawn away, however, by the emergency of Cole's broadsword from the asteroid base.

James winces as his shot misses while he takes a light hit. He gives his damage readout a quick scan then loops around for another high speed attack on the little annoyence.

Suffice it to say that the broadsword pilot really isn't in the best of humor. After all, the tone in Kanani's voice over the comms was a rather tough thing to mistake. « Come here, you bastard. I've got something for you » Cole snarls into comms. Sure he really ought not to play chicken with a Corvette, but… well, as mentioned before. He's not in the best of humor.

Ionel tears after her target as if nothing else exists for her in the world, evading shots as she burns fuel, doing the equivalent of lots of "flooring it." At one point she looks all but ready to /ram/ her enemy, but instead of doing that she just tries to put some mass drivers into his furry face.
GAME: Saving database. Game may freeze for a few moments.
GAME: Save complete.

For once, Maximilian is too busy to be a smart-aleck over the radio, diving in and out of flak bursts while trying to squeeze off a clear shot against that thrice-damned Drakhri. Shot and shrapnel fills his window, the enemy capital ship clearly having his range, and as he gets off a short, few shots the corvette seriously strikes home, Maximilian spiraling away, his stricken craft barely controllable as Maximilian, employing all his experience, just manages to get it back under his own power. Just. He's clearly written off yet another Stiletto.

«Voodoo, we're trying to see you home safe, not vice-versa…» Maximilian gets out over a cracklier-than-usual radio transmission, his antenna knocked out but finally having a moment to speak as the capital ship turns its guns else. «Flight, everyone all right?» And as he asks he plunges back into the fray, taking another run at the Drakhri.

And hey, now that they're in motion, Tori's got radio again. Hurrah. So for the first bit, she was quietly listening, not saying a word. And she stays that way for a moment, as she aims that tail gun, deciding that the Hhriss looks like a good target. She isn't steering, but she takes a quick aim and when her little targetting assist flashes green, she fires. Yes, Cole's broadsword does have munitions of some sort coming out of both ends, believe it or not.

Walsh has his concentration split between watching his missile and attempting to maneuver back into position behind his target, so he fails to see the fire incoming from the corvette. He is jolted sharply around by the impact of flak against his hull. "What the..?? Ouch!" After a moment to recover from the surprise, he scans his diagnostics. «Ow.. Took a solid hit there.. I'd be much obliged if you treated that cat to a nice fish dinner, Voodoo.»

Kanani is still trying to keep her craft flying an in one piece, as well as trying to keep any stray shots from finishing her fighter off. She tries to stay close enough to the other fighters, that she won't get left behind, but not so close that the cats are to likely to shoot at her.

Somehow the crazy head-on pass works, flak shots exploding all around the Broadsword but none connecting solidly enough to do much damage. The approach is apparently not the most effective way to hit a Kamekh, however, as the torpedo tears an ugly chunk away from the Corvette, which keeps on firing. One more of the Hhriss falls, struck by gunfire from two different directions.

« Sentiment's appreciated, Jericho » Cole replies to Max, even as he brings his bomber around for another pass. Apparently, it's his polite way of saying he's going to ignore the attempt to see him home safe. « But I'm gonna give the big kitty the flick before I go. You just take care of the kittens »

Ionel grins at her satisfying ball of fire and targets the next closest cat on her radar screen. She is barely listening to all the chatter over the comms, keeping half an ear out for orders while paying far more attention to the battle. Her music track has changed, and she keeps right on murmuring off key. "I want it now, I want it now, give me your heart and your soul…" Again she leans forward as if leaning might give her weapons that extra *oomph* they need.

Kanani grimaces a bit, as she finally gets her fighter under some semblance of control, and moves in to try and get in a shot at one of the Hhriss. Trying to ignore the pain in her arm for the moment, she's a bit more annoyed at how her fighter is performing with all the damage it's taken.

Maximilian shakes his head, glancing out of his window and giving a quick «Nice shooting, Trigger!» while windmilling and chasing after his Drakhri. "This Kilrathi knows his business," he murmurs under his breath, scoring a glancing blow on his enemy and still twisting after him. His Stiletto's actually in better shape than he might have feared: there's quite a bit of responsiveness left in the stick, even if the engines are taking serious nursing just to keep that light fighter in trim.

Tori does hit, but her neutron - Voodoo's really - cannons do not a darn thing. She switches targets, upon seeing that particular little kitten has all it can handle. « Glad you all let me join the party,» she says, just to give a bit of encouragement perhaps. « And I'll see if I can help with some of those little kittens, just a little. If Voodoo's neutron cannons will cooperate.» And as she gets a target - hey, Voodoo doesn't seem to be ducking much. There are benefits to the bomber after all - but anyway, as Tori gets a target, she hits the trigger again.

The shock of hull impact gives way to the surprise of his guns actually -doing damage-, only to be replaced just as quick by frustration. "Keel over already, damn you!", Walsh mutters under his breath. «Why oh why do they make these things with nine lives again?» He takes aim, and -hopes- his ailing weapons will be effective.

James dives to avoid the fire heading his way then loops around for another pass on the Drakhri, switching to missiles and settling his gunsights over the craft's engines before squeezing the trigger.

The last two Kilrathi fighers blow apart as they're focused on by three times their number. Without the Corvette's flak to provide them cover, they apparently don't stand up so well. The downside, of course, is that the Kilrathi firepower concentrated on the bomber quickly blots the next torpedo from the sky nearly as soon as it leaves the rails.

« Nice shooting, everyone. Looks like that takes care of the little ones. I'm going to give one more shot at the big bastard here. If you want to take a crack at her, aim for the bridge. Even if you can't break through the armor, spalling's a bitch for something that small. » Cole comments simply, even as he brings his bomber back around. Apparently, he wasn't kidding in the least about having another crack at the Kilrathi.

As James's missile and his own gunfire neatly bidsect the last Drakhri, Maximilian lets out a small, almost gasped sigh of relief. Banking his fighter around slowly and feathering his engines to avoid flameout, Maximilian goes in for a strafing run, with the rest of the flight. «One run, Voodoo!» cautions maxmilian, audibly concerned about this needless and yet potentially lucrative stunt.

James sweeps around and up before diving in on a high speed pass aimed at putting a nice warm present into the corvette's bridge «Cutlass Fox 2!»

Kanani isn't so thrilled about charging in on a Corvette in her ships condition, but seeing as all the fire is headed at the bomber, she makes a run anyways, launching a missile at the larger ship, without bothering to try and get a lock even.

Another satisfying kill, but when directed to attack the corvette Ionel instantly turns towards that target. She pays attention to the instructions, and she fires hard, eyes narrowed. She had given a 'thank you' to Maximillion when he'd mentioned her shooting, but now she stays quiet.

If nothing else, Tori's adding confusion to the situation, though she's obviously out of practice as a gunner. Not used to this particular seat, after all. Still, she keeps her cusses under her breath and just aims those neutron cannons at the big boss, hoping that she gets a good shot off as Cole takes his shot and flies by. As the chance comes up, she takes it, firing swiftly.

Removing his hand from the controls for a moment, Walsh flashes a victory sign as three sets of projectiles cut through the remaining hhriss. He would have been -real- pissed if it survived that onslaught. Glancing around and noticing that the heavy is all that remains, he rolls around to join in the assault. His mass driver might be like mosquito bites to an elephant, but it'll take some heat off the bomber.

The Kilrathi corvette is smashed from all sides by weapons fire from the Confederation fighters… twisting and turning itself to keep the attacks focused on areas that won't be subjected to any sort of catastrophic lucky hits. In doing so, however, it fails to avoid the torpedo that tracks in on it. The Kilrathi capital ship shudders and staggers for a moment, before being torn apart by a series of internal explosions.

« Gotcha. » is Cole's only comment on the situation, turning his bomber away from the gutted hulk that a moment ago was a Kilrathi warship. « Bring 'em around for home » he orders almost as an afterthought a moment later.

Hurrah.« Good shooting, everyone.» she says approvingly. And then Tori settles down in her seat, relaxing now. It's almost like a limo, though it does give Queen the opportunity to fume, as Voodoo chauffeurs her back to the Majestic. .

Pulling up away from the exploding corvette to avoid blast damage, Maximilian slumps back in his ejection seat. A deep breath and the captain releases a slow, intent sigh of relief. Quite languidly, and cutting his engines back to avoid any further damage, he makes his slow way out of the asteroid belt.

«Well done, 221st. We can count them all out and we can count them all back again.» Just. «And welcome back, Queen.»

«Copy Lead. Heading back home.» Kanani remarks in a rather weary voice, as she forces her beat up fighter onto a course that heads on back to the Majestic.

Ionel glides back into formation, wiping sweat off her brow. At last she switches off her music while the adrenaline just draains out of her, adrenaline she hadn't realized she was racking up at the time. «Copy that,» she replies, though this time there's no sense of focus in her voice.

James brings his ship around smiling as the corvette blows apart. He gives his scanner one last look and tries some quick repairs on his craft once he's in formation talking as he does so «Understood lead. Welcome back Queen I'm glad that you're ok.» He pauses for a miniuite before asking «The Lieutenant Commander?» his earlier anger at the man's lack of intellegence forgotten for now.

Walsh's strafing run takes him long down the side of the Kilrathi corvette as it begins to break apart. He punches the afterburner to avoid becoming just another secondary explosion. «Another Kat on the barbie, huh, Voodoo?» A pause. «How ya doin', Queen?»

« I think the Commander's taking a nap back there somewhere » Cole replies to the question about Nucefora. There's a moment's pause, before he tells Walsh in a not very nice sort of tone. « Only thing I like about 'em, Ozone. Fur burns. » The reason for that, well, that part might be easy enough to figure out from his next transmission. « How are you holding up over there, Tsunami? »

Maximilian tilts his head a bit at Cole's reply but makes no verbal reply, concentrating on getting his crate out of there.

« He's okay too, » Tori replies, automatically. Hey, she's not accusing him of napping, unlike cranky Cole. «And thank you, Jericho. It's good to be back.» Cause they were almost picked up by the kitties, which would not have been a good thing, especially not in her mind. « And Ozone its it? I'm good, thanks. No injuries to report except for the shuttle. » Dang stupid rocks with automated weapon platforms. Though she does go quiet at the next question, also curious to hear how Tsunami is doing.

«Well, I don't think my fighter's going to fall apart before we get back to the Majestic at least.» Kanani replies, her eyes flicking over the lovely damage report screen with all it's bright cheery red lights and all. «Think I got some flak in my arm, too, though. Hurts like hell.» She adds, before she goes quiet, and concentrates on just getting the Stiletto back home.

«Heh. Don't mind me in the cheap seats here. My Kiwi accent gets me plenty of crap. Really don't buy into the whole rivalry thing though.» Walsh is still riding a wave of adrenaline, so he's talking just for something to do. «Can't wait to be out of this can.»